Thursday, February 28, 2013

Redeemed! My testimony

I was in a cult when I first called on Jesus. I read a Watchtower and realized that the writers were taking His place as mediator. I said “I will never listen to those men again, Lord, only you.” And He began leading me. 7 other family members are now freed from life in a cult, and it all started with Jesus.

Before this I had the Bible, and I thought I was a Christian. I was very proud of my Bible knowledge. I felt proud that I was in an elite group, of the only True Christians on earth, as Jehovah’s Witnesses taught me. At the same time I was full of despair because I could never be sure if I was accepted by God. We were told that we might not make it through the Great Tribulation. The admonishment to do more, more, more and to make kingdom preaching a priority made me feel guilty and ashamed of myself anytime I did anything else. I had young kids and health problems and was judged harshly. I had no friends. I slipped into depression, too ashamed to try to approach God in prayer at all. I felt that I didn’t deserve his help. I needed to try harder. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be loved at all.

You see I was both humble and proud, that is how cults work. They kept me full of fear and shame, but you would never know that when I talked about my religion as if I knew more than everyone else.

I believed in the Bible, but that did not save me. I believed in the historicity of Jesus Christ, but that did not save me. I called on Jesus that day and I had no other religion to go to. I called on the Lord that day because I knew that He could save me, I knew that I needed Him to save me. And I trust Him above all others. Only He can guide me. Religious leaders, words on a page, my own understanding of things, cannot guide me, cannot save anyone.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and you can do all things through His strength.

This belief in Jesus, this total reliance on Him has changed my life. I started studying the Bible and simply taking God at his word. I can understand it now! I read Galatians and learned that we are declared righteous due to faith, not works. I read John chapter 14 and understood that God can be three different people and also in all of our hearts. He is all-powerful!

When I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness I was taught that their God was the Father of Jesus Christ, so for a while it was very hard for me to pray to God the Father. But I can come to Christ as I am. I prayed to Jesus and asked Him to hold me to the light and help me, and He does. Reading 1 John taught me that when I accepted Christ, God adopted me as His child. You know when parents adopt children, they become their own, even if they have attachment disorder or emotional problems; and this is what my God has done for me. Broken, confused, God promises to teach me and love me through it all. I never understood unconditional love, but I do now. I didn’t understand how to feel loved, or how to love myself or others, but God is love. I understand now because I have His Spirit and example.

Being a Christian is not without persecution. During this time, I got emails that my children and I would die in the Great Tribulation and calling me stiff-necked, quoting scriptures promising destruction. My best friend walked out on me for trying to free her. My parents think that I have betrayed and hurt them. As a Jehovah’s Witness I did not pursue friendships outside of the organization and now every Jehovah’s Witness, including family, will have nothing to do with me. But I would give up everything for the love of Christ.

He has answered my prayers time and again. The Holy Spirit grants me wisdom, peace, strength… He supplies me with what I need and my burdens are lifted. In addition, Jesus proves faithful to all of his promises, such as the one at Mark 10:29. As you can see, I now have more friends and family than ever before.

Acts 2:38 says, “Repent and be baptized for remission of sins.” I looked up the meaning of remission. There are several meanings and they all apply here.  Pardon or forgiveness, diminution or reduction, release from payment or obligation, the decrease of the manifestations of a disease. My debt has been cancelled.  The washing and the rebirth of the Holy Spirit takes away all stain of sin, and lessons sin’s affect in my life. Because of Christ’s death, I never have to die. Because of His resurrection, I have hope. He is always with me and I am now assured of God’s love and acceptance and I trust Him to save me, always.

I would like to close with a scripture, that fits so perfectly, that when I read it to my daughter she asked if I had written it:

I saw myself so stupid and so ignorant. Oh God, I must have seemed like an animal to you. But even so You love me! You are holding my right hand. You will keep on guiding me all my life with your wisdom and counsel, and afterwards receive me into the glories of heaven!
Whom have I in heaven but You? And I desire no one on earth as much as You! My health fails, my spirits droop, yet God remains! He is the strength of my heart; He is mine forever! -- Psalm 73:22-26

Monday, February 18, 2013

Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.

Let's examine this end times prophecy at Joel 2:23.

We see it's fulfillment here in Acts 2:21 "And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Let's read in context and see how Peter describes the last days.

Acts2:14But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

37Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

Yes Peter saw the fulfillment of Joel 2:23.That very day 1,979 years ago everyone who called upon the name of the Lord was saved.

How will I stand before the throne of judgment on the great day of Jehovah?

Now I know I will stand before the throne of judgment covered in Christ's righteousness! Without a single fault. Not even one! I will stand before my Lord as a radiant bride with His complete approval. I will be sanctified, holy, blameless. And who does this? I should work pretty hard in order to accomplish that?? Who does this?

"Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless."-- Ephesians 5:25-27

It is not my work. Thank God! It is His.

"Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault."-- Jude 1:24

Monday, February 4, 2013

From cult to Christ in one scripture...

You turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come. 
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10