Do you already have a witness section on your website where people post their testimonies? (We do now) I know your very good story is on there but hadn't explored enough yet to know if there were more.
One clever idea: I once heard Johnnette Benkovic, an EWTN TV and radio host) say everyone should have a 3-sentence witness so they can quickly share their story in any setting and perhaps pique another person's interest in learning more about faith. The witness should be framed around "I was ..., Jesus did ..., now I ...
I guess you could say it's a witness talk in haiku form ;-) Here goes:
"I was an avid churchgoer although with varying degrees of commitment. Then, Jesus began to open up the scripture to me and encouraged me to seek complete truth, complete union with him. Now I am deeply in love with him and the one, holy, Catholic, apostolic church."
It, like me, is a work in progress, but that's a good start.
A little bit about my recent journey. I fully submitted to Jesus back before I had a stroke. That would have been somewhere around 2010 or 2011; I would have been 56 to 57 years old. I was lying in bed one night, wide awake, when a very strong feeling came over me. I knew that I needed His help to be redeemed, there was no other way. I asked God for forgiveness and I knew immediately He had granted that forgiveness to me. I had a lot to be forgiven for, 56 + years’ worth. Anyway, it was like a really huge weight that had been lifted off of me; the weight of a car for instance (the burden of sin). I actually felt that way; I knew what had happened. I'm still amazed someone like me can be forgiven; but, that is the beauty of true Christianity though (whomsoever will). I started to see things in a different light from then on, I felt so different, and still do. I'm not better than anyone else (God is not a respecter of persons); I just feel different. I do things different. I don't have the same old interests, etc. I still make mistakes though; I am still human. That is what repentance is for.
There was a time in my life during my younger years I thought my middle name was mistake. I made a lot of mistakes on a regular basis and I often wondered if I would end up dead or in jail at a young age. I never talked to anyone about that, not even my wife. I definitely do not feel that way today. I know I'm not perfect or anywhere near that, but, I know I'm on the right track now. It's never too late to come to your senses and realize what must be done. Many wait till they are on their deathbeds, I'm glad I didn't wait till then. Remember, God is not a respecter of persons; He doesn't show partiality, He doesn't discriminate. He is extremely patient and wants all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
- 2 Peter 3:9
Then on Valentine’s Day of 2012 I had that stroke mentioned above. It changed my remaining life; I am partially disabled and unable to work anymore. My wife and I are permanently retired now living in S.E. Alabama. Needless to say, I have lots of time on my hands now. Not too long after I had the stroke and came home from the hospital I could sense a strong, unexplainable urge to read and study the Bible. I wasn't sure then why that urge was in me, I believe I know now though. I had a computer already, so I began to look for online versions of the KJV Bible. I found many, but picked just one to start reading. I read the Bible cover to cover, book by book, chapter by chapter and verse by verse. I felt the need to do it that way instead of just cherry picking verses. I had not gotten very far in the Old Testament when another feeling and thought came over me; I was reading it, but I was not understanding much of what it was saying, I just knew there was more to it (unexplainable). I felt there had to be something out there that helps people understand the Bible more. I started searching on the internet and was led to commentaries. One stuck out by Matthew Henry and I started reading his commentary about individual chapters and verses. It started to come alive for me. I remember reading Jeremiah and thinking how much it reminded me of today, modern times. Matthew Henry lived in the late 1600's and the early 1700's, so he had no idea what has happened since then. I felt a need to look for something else a little more contemporary. That is when I found Shepherd's Chapel on television. This is the only place I could find that goes through the Bible completely chapter by chapter and verse by verse. I watched Arnold Murray, the Pastor of Shepherd's Chapel, and began to see the Bible in a very different light. I soon discovered that there is more in the Bible than I knew previously; I began to see and hear with open spiritual eyes and ears, I could feel it was the truth; I just knew. I believe I was being guided by the Holy Spirit to find truth, a little wisdom, knowledge, etc., in the amounts God knew I could handle. It is the only way I can explain what has happened to me. Is there another explanation? Before this, I never really felt the urge to learn about God by reading the Bible, His letter to us. I have never had the urge to attend church either and still don't. Again, I can't explain it. I feel that I have learned much more by studying the Bible on my own. At about this same time, I found a website by a person that is a student of Shepherd's Chapel, (http://theseason.org/). On this website, he has a complete written study of the whole Bible with explanations. I switched to reading this and completed my first read of the Bible some time later. This site was a great help. I managed to find other similar websites, but they are few. I'll share a list of those if you are interested. I also watched other religious programs to see just what was being taught and emphasized. Based on what I have seen on television, most don't cover what is really important, they never seem to get around to teaching God's word. I know I'm not to judge, but I can now tell what's right and what's not; what will benefit myself and others (able to spiritually discern). I thank God for the ability He has given me to discern His truths. I continued to read and study the Bible going almost completely through it again. I say almost because I did not study 1st and 2nd Chronicles completely; I skimmed over the long genealogies in those two books, at this time I don't understand the importance of them. I have read and studied the rest of it, though, only 2 times through. Once I finished it the second time, I no longer had the desire to read it completely again (unexplainable). I did have the desire to do topical studies, which I am still doing. A topic comes to mind, I don't know exactly how, then I start looking for pertinent verses in the Bible, start recording them and writing my own comments and questions about the topic. I go back and edit them on a continual basis as I learn. I use some of those websites I mentioned earlier to guide me as well. I'm still doing that today. I acquire an idea somehow (Holy Spirit?), then start researching it to find what I can. Most of what I find is not exactly what I am looking for. Occasionally I find something I just sense and know is true and helpful. I use a Strong's Concordance, as well. Based on what I have observed and heard, I try to encourage others to read and study their Bibles completely (seek Him, seek the Kingdom first). You have to read and study the Bible yourself. Read Amos 8:11 to find out why. (What is the famine for)? I have learned you can't find truth if you never look for it! I like to share what I've learned, as well. That's my recent story in a nutshell. It has been an amazing journey God has led me on, He has truly blessed me. I can't explain it any other way. I feel I'm being prepared for something, one step at a time, I just don't know what. I like to use the analogy of building a pyramid one brick at a time, in other words, it takes a long time because only small pieces of knowledge (mysteries of the kingdom) are revealed at any one time. God knows what we can handle and what we can't handle. My whole life falls into that category of being prepared for something, I suppose. I'm where I am now and who I am because of where I have been and what I've been led to do; it is no accident. I believe God has a master plan and that plan involves each and every one of us in some way. Are we supposed to know that plan? I don't believe we can know much about it, just not possible for a mere human to know what God knows. He is the creator; we are part of His creation. Some may be allowed to know and understand a piece of it, I can't say. I do like to say, “I know God has a plan, I don't know what it is, I merely accept it”. To me, that sort of summarizes it all. Again, what an amazing journey! I look forward to each and every day to see where I'm going to be led.
Due to the stroke mentioned above, I am partially disabled and unable to work anymore. I was an armament technician on military aircraft for almost forty years (38+). I started in 1972 and became disabled in 2012. I was still working on military aircraft in 2012. I hope this gives you a little insight into my journey of the past 6 or so years. I feel urges occasionally; I feel this is how the Holy Spirit guides me. I can't explain it any other way. I definitely want to become more sensitive to those urgings from the Holy Spirit.
You are invited... you are encouraged to SHARE YOUR FAITH, to Witness your Faith with Bible Basics... Layers of Understanding. Tell us your story!