Sitting here at my keyboard with tears of joy running down my face I offer up thanksgiving to Jesus for the change he has made in my life. I feel such full joy and praise this morning in my soul for what Christ as done for me that I hardly know what to do with myself.
I grew up in your typical Christian home and made no profession of faith as far as I can remember. I entered my late teens thinking that a Christian was mom’s boy and they were missing out on all the fun things of life. I had no concept what so ever of what it meant to be born again or how Christ could make me a new person with new desires — a desire for purity, a desire of communion with God, a desire to live a selfless live by putting others first. The concept that God could change me to the degree that I hated the things I once loved and loved the things I owe hated was not something that had ever entered into my head let alone my heart.
It is almost painful for me as I think of my late teens and every twenties. Drug abuse, jail time, selfish living, immorality, anger, and hatred filled my life. I lived in bondage and I didn’t even know it — I thought my life was full and free.
Then Jesus started to deal with my soul. I had moved from my home town of Charlottetown, PEI to the big city of Vancouver, BC. It was meant to be a new start, I was going make lots of money, and I was going to become a big player in the drug scene — or so I though. I think I was in Vancouver for all of four months before I got busted for dealing dime bags of pot and ended up with a year in jail. That was where I started reading the Bible and made my first profession of faith.
I look back on those years with embarrassment now, but the Lord had started a work in my life. There have been many failures, many hard lessons, and while I am ashamed to admit it there were times where I slid back into the world and willful sin.
It’s too hard to share the failures of those years even though they were sprinkled with times of victory here and there, so I will fast forward to where I am today. I moved to Aylmer, Ontario about 5 years ago and shortly after that made a new start in my Christian life where I attended meetings with the Church of God restoration in Aylmer up until July of this year.
When I moved to Aylmer and made a new start I got some good council from Danny Layne a Restoration minister that has really stuck with me. He told me I couldn’t live a devoted life to Christ with a nominal Christian effort (what Layne called trying to live a church of God experience with a Baptist effort). He suggested that I should stay away for doctrinal books and recommended that I read practical books like Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis.
That advice stuck with me and was a help to me in building a good solid foundation for my Christian experience. Eight months later I prayed for the infilling of the Spirit of God and experience a change that I had never experienced before. The irritation and upset feelings that I used to have to suppress were all gone.
I worked hard to have a consistent devotional life, I read lots of books that had to do with practical Christian living, and did my small part in trying to help others to find the Lord.
In the last two years there has been a maturing and deepening down in my Christian life. I have more peace, a much deeper devotional life (thank you Lord for E.M. Bounds), and greater trust in the Lord that he completely has my life in his hands and everything that he allows to come my way will be for my good. I have been working lately on retiring earlier and getting up earlier and have increased the amount of time I am spending in my morning devotions.
For the last year I have been praying and asking God to make me a worker for him. I have a burden to be a blessing to other Christians, to help backsliders and those that have been hurt by false religion, and to point the lost to Christ as the one that can satisfy their every longing.
I have published a 12 page booklet called How to Become More Christ Like that is geared toward those that desire a deeper Christian walk. I am also working on a couple of other booklet titles and Lord willing I plan on publishing a bi-monthly holiness journal and will be using the articles that I write for this blog for the content.
I offer up thanksgiving and praise for every trial God has allowed to come my way. I trust that God uses them to provide me with patience and endurance (Jam 1:3). I find when I read in my devotions from Martyrs Mirror that my greatest trials seem very small.