What More Must I Do to be Saved? {Testimony Tuesday}

What More Must I Do to be Saved? {Testimony Tuesday}

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Latest posts by Toni D (see all)

I used to think I did not have much of a testimony. When I was growing up, I was a “good girl” who knew all the Bible stories and never got into any big trouble. I went to church all the time, so I thought that was all I needed. As far as I knew, I was saved.

If I believed in God, what more did I have to do to be saved?

Let me back up and add that I grew up going to church a lot.  My family were members of a denomination that attends on Saturdays.  I went with friends on many Sundays, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights.  I had heard many sermons but I guess I never “heard” what was being said.

When I was fifteen, I was at a friend’s house one Sunday afternoon.  We had been friends for years and were always at each others’ houses.  Somehow, she realized that I did not have a personal relationship with Christ.  We started talking about if I wanted to go to heaven when I died.  I was really confused.

A New Understanding

Her preacher lived about four blocks away so she took me down to talk to him.  He explained to me the plan of salvation.  He told me that going to church, doing good things, or being a good person was not enough.  I had to pray to ask Jesus into my heart so that I might have eternal life.  This sounded new to me, but God was speaking to me.  I understood more in that short amount of time than I had in my entire lifetime.  It was there in the pastor’s home that I prayed to accept Christ.  We went to church that night and I went forward to share with everyone what Christ had done for me.

My life has not been easy since that day.

I have not always done what God has wanted me to do.  Although I have strayed from God, He has never left me.  I have seen God work miracles in my life and in my family’s life.  Accepting Christ was the best decision I ever made.

i-have-not-always-done-what-god-has-wanted-me-to-do-accepting-christ-was-the-best-decision-i-ever-made

If you have never done this, it is as easy as ABC.

You must Admit that you are a sinner and in need of salvation from sin.  Believe in your heart that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died on the cross for our sins.  And, Confess that Jesus is Lord.

If you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior and you would like to, you can pray this simple prayer:

Dear Lord, I know that I am a sinner.  I know that You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ to die on the Cross for my sins.  I believe you did this so that I may have eternal life in heaven with You.  Please come into my heart and save me.

If you just prayed this for the first time, please share with someone.  Even if you are ninety-nine years old and have attended church all your life, do not be embarrassed.  We will all rejoice with you.  There is plenty of room in heaven for more.

Did you just pray this prayer?

Were you raised in church and yet didn’t realize the need for a personal relationship with Christ?

Toni D.

heart-of-it-all

A note from Kristi

This is the last post in the Testimony series.  We pray above all that no matter where you are, whether you have a relationship with Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior or not, you will come to learn that He truly loves you. Above all he wants a personal relationship with you.  He sacrificed himself on the cross so that you can be forgiven of EVERY. SINGLE. THING. you have ever done wrong in your life.  No matter how big or small, we all have sinned.  Even the smallest of sins separates us from a Holy God who cannot encounter sin.  For this reason, Jesus sacrificed himself, so that our sins would be forgiven and we could come back into a relationship with the God of the Universe. This is why we need Christ.

Our other hope and prayer is that you see it’s not just about believing.

Yes, it all starts with believing that Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth, died for our sins, and three days later was raised from the grave. We must be willing to accept his gift of grace which is freely given.  He destroyed the hold death had over us.  So yes, it all starts with this belief. But even demons believe in Jesus and choose to not follow him. So in addition to the act of believing, we must accept his gift of grace which is freely given.  Then your choice lies in either choosing to follow Christ and learning how to love God first with all your heart, mind, and soul, or choosing instead to love yourself and the things of this world more.

ephesians-2-8-9-acts-22-16

This is why Jesus calls us to die to our sin and to be born again.

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’”

John 3:3-7

Being born of water and the Spirit was also something the apostles called believers to do:

Then Peter said, “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Acts 10:47-48

Continue to nurture your faith

We all make the decision to either accept or reject the amazing gift of grace we are offered.  For it is grace that saves us and nothing that we could ever do! When we choose to follow Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will not automatically get everything right. We still aren’t perfect, but He is!  As we draw close to Him through his word, prayer, and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us, we become a changed person.  Our thoughts, actions, and even desires begin to change to more of what Jesus wants and less about what our selfish nature wants. It’s not just about our words, but our actions expressed through faith.

your-choice-follow-christ-or-love-yourself-and-the-things-of-this-world-more

As James says:

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!

Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.  

And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?  For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

James 2:14-26

Prayer over our Hearts

Lord, we come before your holy throne and humbly thank you for everything you have given us!  For forgiving us and giving us a choice to live eternally with you.  We pray that our lives will be a pleasing sacrifice to you and that we will choose to glorify you above ourselves.  In the One who humbled himself before his Father’s will to save us, Amen!

 

i-have-not-always-done-what-god-has-wanted-me-to-do-accepting-christ-was-the-best-decision-i-ever-made-pinterst

ephesians-2-8-9-acts-22-16-pinterest

what-more-must-i-do-to-be-saved

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Surrender My Daily Walk with Christ Rekindle the Flame  My Faith Journey When Imperfection Keeps Us from Jesus

A Journey of Surrender {Testimony Tuesday}

A Journey of Surrender {Testimony Tuesday}

Hi! Born in the great state of Texas and raised in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, this Daughter of the Alamo/Georgia Peach is still adjusting to life in Razorback Nation! My husband and I live just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas with our two toddlers and two crazy pups. I’m a small business owner, chocolate aficionado, and travel lover with a 2pm coffee hour no matter what time zone I’m in!
Latest posts by Lindsay W (see all)

 

When asked to share my testimony, I always find myself pausing and asking, “Which part?”

Because to tell my entire story would take a book. Lately, I’ve noticed that because my story is so–shall we say, multi-faceted–I’ve inched away from most recent opportunities to share it. Even here, in this special place of Creating A Great Day, when all of us contributors were asked to consider sharing our testimonies, while I thought it was a great idea for everyone else, I didn’t really want to share mine.

Which part would I share? I mean, after all, I certainly couldn’t fit the whole thing into one neat and tidy blog post.

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit gave me a good slap in the head and reminded me that the hesitancy I was feeling wasn’t from HIm. It was from the Enemy who really, really doesn’t want for me to share any part of my story with you.

And, if you know me at all, you know I don’t like it when the Enemy gets a little victory. So, sign myself up to share my testimony I did. (Take that, Satan!)

But, I was still left with the practical question–which part?? How am I going to fit my whole testimony into one blog post?

Again, the Holy Spirit slapped my head. “You don’t need to share the WHOLE thing. Tell them about Houseboat. Tell them about when you surrendered.”

So that’s where we’re going to go, dear readers. To that point in my story.

But, to get there, you are still going to need a little background…

I was born to God-fearing parents, who talk the talk and walk the walk. As a young six year old, I asked my mom to explain the Easter story that I’d heard in Sunday school that morning, because I didn’t understand it. And right there on the steps of our church, I asked Jesus to forgive me of all my sins and to be my Lord and Savior.

As I grew up, the Lord worked through my parents, extended family members, family friends, and our church to expose me to His body across the world. As an eight year old, I heard God call me to overseas missions. Being a public school kid gave me the wonderful opportunity at a very young age to make the decision as to whether or not I would publicly stand for Jesus. It also taught me respect for people who follow religions other than Christianity. Most (not all) of my friends at school didn’t believe exactly what I did, and their families didn’t look or act like mine.

As a matter of fact, at school, I was the only “Christian” I knew. Everyone else who wasn’t Jewish or HIndu or Muslim or Catholic was Baptist or Methodist or Presbyterian or some other denomination of Christianity. I was raised in a non-denominational church, so I was (and still am) literally just a Christ-follower. Pretty much the only other plain ol’ Christian friends I had were the ones I went to church with.

This didn’t bother me, it just made me aware that I was not in the majority. Even though I grew up in the Bible belt, where there’s a church on every corner, I knew as a youngster that not everyone believed the exact same thing that my family and I did. And I loved my friends no differently for it.

But, I did have two very separate friend groups: my school friends and my church friends. We lived in the suburbs of Atlanta, a good twenty minutes from our church, and most of the kids who went to my church lived close to church. Only one went to school with me.

I’m so grateful my parents faithfully drove me to youth group and small groups and sent me on our church retreats every summer so I could cultivate those friendships. To this day, the friends I regularly talk on the phone with (and all the mamas with toddlers know you are only talking on the phone with a very small group of girlfriends) are girls from my youth group.

The summer before my sophomore year of high school, I was headed on a charter bus to our summer youth group retreat, called Houseboat. Behind me sat this cute guy in a baseball cap. He and I started talking on the bus and didn’t stop talking the whole week.

Thank goodness I had enough good friends and our youth group was wise enough to build in plenty of non-co-ed time that I was able to focus on the reason we were on a retreat to begin with: to grow in our walk with Christ.

My sweet friends wouldn’t even let me sit next to the guy during our evening worship services so I wouldn’t be distracted. And, man, am I glad I did. Because it was during one of those services when the Holy Spirit spoke through the speaker’s message and changed my life.

My Christian walk up until then was good. I certainly loved God and sought to serve and worship and become more like Him. And I was soundly “saved.” Even though I was six years old when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I 100% knew the severity and consequences of my sins and believed that Jesus was the only option for forgiveness. I knew He was the only way I could have a relationship with God here on earth and for eternity in Heaven. I’d also, at that young age, understood repentance–to turn from your sins. Of course, like all humans, I couldn’t not sin, but the desire to please God and not sin was there.

I had stood for Christ when it wasn’t pleasant. By the time I finished middle school, I had very few friends at school because very few chose to hold to the morals I held as a Christ-follower. However, by the time I found myself on this Houseboat trip, I had the opportunity to attend our church’s private school where many of my friends from youth group also attended. There, I was learning more about Jesus and the Bible and Christianity. On the outside, what could possibly be missing in my walk with Christ aside from just knowing Him better?

Well, I liked (and still do) control. And, I was pretty smart. I mean, not to brag, but I got mostly all A’s in school in upper level classes. As a neighborhood babysitter, I was respected and was even a lead Sunday school teacher at our church for a summer. I never got in trouble. I was also gifted with an assortment of talents–acting and modeling were two I was exploring and doing well in. For a fifteen year old, I seemed to be doing just fine controlling the things I had control over.

But there, sitting on top of one of those houseboats, underneath a sea of stars, I realized there was a big part of following Jesus that I hadn’t done…surrender. Following Jesus means letting Him be in control, not me. Following Jesus meant giving Him the pen to my story. I didn’t know what that would look like. But, I knew I needed to do it.

following-jesus-means-letting-him-be-in-control-not-me-following-jesus-meant-giving-him-the-pen-to-my-story

So I did.

And everything changed.

And this where the story gets multi-faceted. This is where I wonder, which part do I tell?

Do I tell about breaking my leg? What about that mission trip I took to Kenya? Do I tell about living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Guatemala–how do I not tell them about Guatemala? Do I tell them about nursing school? Working as a nurse? Hurting my back? Choosing to leave nursing? Starting my own business? Moving 9+ hours away from home to the last state in the continental U.S. that I wanted to live in (modern day Jonah situation, literally)? My mom’s best friend? The last year of our life?

No.

Not here. Not today.

But, I will tell you about that guy. The one my friends wouldn’t let me sit next to, so I wouldn’t be distracted.

That guy who liked me as much as I liked him.

That guy who had already surrendered his life to Jesus.

We got home from that retreat, and God took us each on our own journeys for several years, journeys that drew us closer to Him in ways that we never could have grown if we’d been closer to each other than “just friends.”

Two weeks ago that guy and I celebrated six years of marriage.

And we both look back on that week on those houseboats and praise God that He opened my heart to surrender my life to Him. As my husband says, “Without God in control of our relationship from the beginning, I’m confident we would have messed it up.”

Our walk with the Lord, both as singles and as a married couple, has been filled with a wide gamut of experiences, emotions, trials, and joyous occasions. We shudder at what life would look like if neither of us had given Christ control of our life.

It hasn’t been easy. We’ve made mistakes. Daily we’re reminded that we’re not perfect. (Especially since we’re the parents of a toddler!)

But nothing else can replace this peace we have. A peace and a hope and an assurance that even though we aren’t perfect, God is. And He is always faithful.

We know, out of personal experience, that it is better for Him to hold the pen that’s writing our story than it is for us to.

We know that sometimes life gets hard. Really hard. But we have a peace that surpasses understanding and the strength of the Lord Jesus inside of us which keeps us pressing towards the goal of glorifying Him in all that we do.

Accepting Jesus as my Savior was a no-brainer. There’s no other way to have a relationship with God than through Jesus. There’s no other way to have eternal life. No other way to receive forgiveness.

Jesus asked God if there was a way other than the cross to redeem the world. Jesus had free will. He knew what was coming. He could have fled and saved Himself. But He surrendered to the will of God. He let God keep the pen.

And look what came out of that decision to surrender.

Have you surrendered your life to Christ? Given Him the pen of your life? What differences have you noticed since making that decision? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section.

In Him,

Lindsay

Learning to Trust and Obey in My Daily Walk {Testimony Tuesday}

Learning to Trust and Obey in My Daily Walk {Testimony Tuesday}

I grew up in Oklahoma and attended Oklahoma Christian University. Right after earning my degree in Music Education I moved to Germany to do mission work for 5 years. During those 5 years, I married my husband and we eventually became parents to our spunky daughter! We settled back in Oklahoma and added an energetic son to our family! I am now a stay-at-home mom who is still very passionate about mission work, Germany, singing, family, and most of all, my relationship with God.
April E
Latest posts by April E (see all)

I will admit, I don’t have a story that is such a drastic change in lifestyle. I wasn’t living wildly before my baptism. But we all have a journey in learning to trust and obey God, and there is change involved even if it doesn’t seem drastic on the surface. We know that we are all sinners. Thank God that He sent His son Jesus to forgive us!

romans-5-verse-8-blog

Raised in a Christian Environment

I grew up in a Christian home with parents who took us to church every Sunday and every Wednesday. In this regard, I was so blessed to be brought up in such an environment. I will be forever grateful for the example my parents have been in my life. Along with my parents, I grew up surrounded by many wonderful Christian people. I remember some wonderful Bible class teachers whom I looked up to and learned so much from. Even my grandparents were Christians and we always attended church with them when we visited. My grandma was a Bible class teacher, and for as long as I can remember, she was always actively serving in her church.

At some point as I was growing and learning, I remember becoming conscious of the fact that I did believe in God. I did believe He sent his son Jesus to Earth to sacrifice himself in order to save us.

Coming to a Decision

When I decided to be baptized, I was ten years old. Although that is young, my parents studied with me and talked with me to make sure I understood what it meant. What I remember the most from those studies came down to understanding that Jesus is God’s Son and he died on a cross to take away my sins. I remember wanting to be obedient to God and live the rest of my life for Him.

Now that I’m older, I realize that I definitely didn’t know everything or understand it in its fullness. The important thing is that I understood what Christ did for me and I wanted to give my life to Him. I think no matter how old we are when we give our lives to Christ, there is no way to fully understand how much God loves us. In fact, those of us who have been living a life for Christ for many years still learn more every day what it means to trust and obey. Being a Christian is a daily walk we must take with God to grow closer to him.

ephesians-3-vs-17

To Walk with Christ Means to Trust and Obey

Since that day on October 14, 1990, when I was baptized, washing my sins away and promising to live my life for God, there have been many ups and downs. That’s part of walking this life, even with God. Even in my lowest of lows, I have felt God’s presence and even was brought closer to Him in those moments. I continue to walk on, knowing that no matter what may come in the future, He is there with me. I have learned on my walk, that every day is a new day and He is always there to walk with me. So I continue to trust in Him and obey Him to the best of my ability, to grow closer to Him and live out His love. I’m so glad that I made that decision twenty-six years ago.

Trust and Obey

by John H. Sammis

When we walk with the Lord in the light of his word,
What a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will, he abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Refrain:
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil he doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey. [Refrain]

But we never can prove the delights of his love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor he shows, for the joy he bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey. [Refrain]

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at his feet,
Or we’ll walk by his side in the way;
What he says we will do, where he sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey. [Refrain]

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you so much for giving your own Son so that I might be saved and live with you for eternity. My thanks will never be enough to repay you for that. I pray that every day I continue to walk with you and lean on you for everything. No matter what is going on around me, I pray that I will focus on you and your Son and all the love you have for me. I ask that you help me block out the world’s noise so that I can look to you alone as my strength. I love you and I praise you for all that you do for me.

It’s in Jesus’ holy name that I pray,

Amen

Rekindle the Flame {Testimony Tuesday}

Rekindle the Flame {Testimony Tuesday}

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

Inspired by How Others Came to Christ

One of my favorite things to do is listen to how people came to know God. Call it what you will–testimonies, witness–they each tell the most important story of their entire lives. The story of how they came to know the Almighty.

And listening is so inspiring–especially to the stories of people who didn’t grow up as Christians. I love those stories of God working wondrous things. There are breathless moments, dramatic pauses, and a feeling of exhilaration.

However, my own story of conversion is not “exciting” in a dramatic sense. It is more like the journey of a steady rain–not overwhelming, not loud–just a slow seeping of God’s love and the knowledge of him into my life.

I grew up as a preacher’s kid. My parents are from Africa, which always makes for an exciting dinner table introduction and a great opening to talk about their work–and really, every Christian’s work. The work of sharing the gospel.

Influenced by Godly Parents

I spent time in California, Texas, and Tennessee. And I grew up watching my daddy do the most important work on earth: helping people understand that they need a Savior and then helping them to obey Him. I watched him work long hours, odd hours, and all hours.

While I was growing up, I watched my mom in a different way. She stayed at home and spent time with me. While she was not always the “typical” preacher’s wife (is there really such a thing?), I saw her use her talents: opening up our home to people, feeding people, entertaining them. And she taught me, especially, the skill of loving older people. Visiting shut-ins and watching “The Price is Right” with them. Bringing fresh bread or a bowl of chicken noodle soup. Telling them about what we did that day–even the silly, mundane details because it meant that we were showing them love and filling that ache of loneliness that so often grows.

As I grew older, I started to question and to wonder. My dad brought home books for me to read and we would talk at the dinner table, the setting sun making the room glow in oranges and reds. We would pore over Bible passages and I would write out my notes. Because I wanted to read it for myself.

The Flame of Faith Begins to Grow

I’m a slow thinker. I have to ruminate over things. I don’t think fast in arguments. And so, I would write out my questions each new time and Dad’s responses. I don’t know if he ever felt apprehension or doubts. What I do remember is his never-ending patience and his calmness about it all.

But the day I became a Christian was a Sunday evening. I listened to my dad preach up there, and I suddenly stopped taking notes. It was a slow-spreading emptiness inside me as I realized that his words applied to me. That what he was saying was not just theoretical, but real.

And that if I died right that minute, I wouldn’t be with God. I would be lost eternally, in a place of unimaginable torture and terror. And so, I found my daddy’s elbow after church and told him that I wanted to change my life forever.

I remember him crying a little, as he and the rest of the Sunday night crowd listened as I confessed Jesus as God’s son, as I repented of my sins, and as he plunged me into those chilly waters to baptize me.

As I remember that night, I can still feel the almost tangible fervor in my heart. The urgency I felt to talk about God. I was wiped clean. I was new. I felt like the Psalmist does–that my cup overflowed with what the Lord had given to me.

Certainly, it’s good to recall. To listen and to tell of our stories of conversion. Not just to help us remember what God has done for us, but also to rekindle that flame of desire for the Lord and for sharing that joy with others. May we all rekindle that fire!

i-felt-like-the-psalmist-does-that-my-cup

My Faith Journey {Testimony Tuesday}

My Faith Journey {Testimony Tuesday}

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

Testimony of a Church Kid

What sort of testimony can a gal who grew up as a church kid have? Especially when that gal was a minister’s kid! I mean, basically she must have been born believing in Jesus and knowing him personally. (Hopefully by now you are catching my sarcasm!)

I’ve learned that my testimony isn’t so much about how I came to believe in God but how I’ve learned to embrace God’s presence in my life, and give my life to Him in return.

The summer before 6th grade I decided that I was ready to step out in my faith. I believed that Jesus was really God’s son. I knew that I had sinned and that God offered forgiveness and the promise of eternal life through Jesus. So one hot night in July, wearing my Old Navy overalls, I was baptized in the camp swimming pool. I wish I could tell you that in that moment everything changed, that something magical happened, and suddenly I was a completely obedient and dedicated Christian. That simply wasn’t how it went though. It was the start of a new chapter in my life though- a new turn in my faith journey.

Growing My Own Faith

I grew up attending the same church my entire life. My dad became the youth minister when I was five years old, and is still the youth minister twenty-three years later. My mom has served as a children’s minister since I was in 6th grade, and still does to this day. Let me tell you, I was involved. Ministry was family work, be it getting the attendance clip boards passed out before church, folding the children’s bulletin, cleaning out the church van, or volunteering with events–helping out was my contribution, not only to the church but to my family. I say this not to brag, especially since there was often some grumbling involved, but just to give you a glimpse into my life.

My adolescent years brought a wide range of ups and downs, as it does for most of us. I struggled with being one way at school and one way at church. My insecurities got the best of me and I made poor choices now and then. I was often rude to my parents and got into trouble. In my heart, though, I loved Jesus. I found myself seeking reconciliation with him over and over. While my human nature was often failing me I longed to serve Jesus. So I served at church both out of obligation to my family and out of a heart for serving the church. Church work was the basis of my faith at that time in my life.

Eventually the time came for me to choose a college, and while I tossed around the idea of pursuing music education at a public university, the Lord led me to a Christian university, where I eventually decided to study ministry. Being at a small Christian university was a very cool experience–a lot like youth group camp. I started to notice that my life was becoming more blended. I wasn’t struggling with acting one way at school and a different way at church because I was in the same environment all the time.

Faith Shapes Us from the Inside Out

As a result, I started examining myself more closely–the words I said, the music I listened to, how I treated those who were different from me—it all slowly changed over time. I wanted my whole life centered around Jesus, not just a part of it. I began to do more in-depth bible studies and instead of keeping a regular diary I started prayer journaling. It was a process of realizing what it means to give my life to God. It was during this time that I really began to form a relationship with God. My faith was lived out in more than just church work. My faith in Christ began to shape my life from the inside out. 

you-are-still

This spring will mark six years since my husband and I graduated college and seven years since our wedding day. Over the years I’ve continued to grow in new ways and love God even more. A true blessing was when my husband and I began to help each other on our spiritual paths. I can not tell you the impact that has made in my relationship with God. There are seasons where I fall back, but I keep moving forward. That is what my testimony is all about: moving forward. Falling more in love with Christ as the years go on. I don’t claim perfection or to have it all together, but I’m on a path toward growth.

A Faith Journey is Lifelong

It is easy to look at those who appear to be spiritual champions and think that’s just the way they are, and that we are just the way we are. That is a lie. They are not just that way. They have become that way–and they are still becoming. You are still becoming. 

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:10-14

Our testimony is in our journey, sweet friends, a journey that takes a lifetime to complete. So if you are not where you want to be, take heart. Your journey is not over yet. Keep pressing on, seeking him more, embracing his presence, studying, serving, and loving. In the words of (most likely) Paul, “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, press on toward the goal…” One day we will be where we want to be–with God in the flesh, for ever and ever.

press-on

 

Pin It on Pinterest