Come along for the Ride!

I am so glad you are here. Stay with us as we travel everywhere. I hope you will enjoy the ride.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

By the Grace of God

Our First Place Ladies at church have been doing a study on Grace for the past 11 weeks. We are asked to give our testimony, so here is mine. This is my story.
God is so good. He’s so good to me. His grace is sufficient to cover my sin, to make me clean, to make me an heir with Jesus. I am a child of God, simply because He loves me.
I am a first born child, which some people say explains why I am so bossy and controlling. I like to think of it as leadership tendencies. My parents didn’t have very much money but we always had plenty of love to go around. My dad was disabled from the time I can remember from a motorcycle accident when he was only 16 years old. In my early childhood my mom didn’t work. I don’t know where our income came from, I have no idea. Like I said, we didn’t have much. We shopped at the Goodwill and gladly accepted hand me downs from other people.
My parents took us to church. We had a lot of people there who helped us. They gave us boxes of food and car rides when ours wasn’t working.
I always knew about Jesus. I heard about Him in Sunday School and Bible School. I loved going to church because I felt loved by my Sunday School teachers.
Jesus became “real” to me during a week of summer church camp. Some of the older kids were being mean and teasing me that day. (I can’t remember why.) And the sermon was about how Jesus is our friend in times of trouble. I needed Him as my friend.  I began daily bible reading from that night forward. I listened more seriously during Sunday School and church. I responded more in class and sang louder during services. I wanted to know more about God. I wanted to know more about the bible.
I had great teachers during that time that really got involved with the young people. They did things with us like movie nights at their home, taking us to the mall, and sleep over studies at the church. I loved feeling like I belonged somewhere.
Even though the teachers were great, some of the teens were not. I knew that I would never fit in with their crowd. Even some of the adults snubbed my family. I started noticing other things that didn’t seem to be what I thought God would like in His church. Some people even seemed “fake or phony.” I began to fall away from the church although I never stopped my daily prayers and bible reading. I did not want to let God down. I had a good faith in Him just not so much the church.
When I met Bill and found out that his dad was a preacher, of course I wanted to come to his church. I noticed right away that it was different from the only church I had ever attended. It was smaller. The people were more down to earth. It reminded me of the country church from the tv show, Little House on the Prairie. And his dad preached a good sermon called, Seven ducks in a muddy pond.
As I continued to go to church with Bill I began to see the truth being taught there. There was nothing fake or phony feeling here. It felt like a family. Everyone seemed to really care for each other.
After Bill’s dad died, his brother Buck became our preacher and our church grew and strengthened after going through a bit of a hard time.
Through Buck’s urging I became more involved in service.  I got baptized when I realized that I needed to have salvation; when I finally grasped the scriptural reasons for baptism. That is when I began to really grow as a Christian. I studied even more and started to teach the teen class.  I got more involved in every aspect of the church. I was there as often as I could be. I wanted to be.
The Christian life is real to me. It is real to my husband. We have tried to raise our children to love the Lord. There is nothing, absolutely nothing that would make me happier than to know we did a good job raising our kids that God entrusted to us. I would hope that God could be pleased with how we did.
I understand that every human has the freedom of choice when it comes to loving God and having a relationship with Him. And that includes our children. I sometimes wonder what I could have done differently to help them have a clearer understanding of the love of God. But now I just trust God. I trust my children. I have to trust their judgment. I continue to pray for their souls everyday.
 I know that Satan would like to snatch away anything that is good. I know that Satan has very strong powers. I know that he is a great deceiver and many people believe his lies.
But I know that my God is greater, He is bigger. And I know that in the end Satan and his followers will be defeated.
Whose side are you on? God is good. God is real. He is our refuge and our strength, our very present help in times of trouble. He gives grace even before we realize that we need it because He loves us so much. Nothing you can do or have done is more than God can forgive. He loves you and so do I.
Do you believe that? Do you have faith that God can love even you?
I know that you have committed sins in your life, we all have. No one is good all the time. I know that when I do something that I know to be wrong, I feel bad. I also know that it displeases God, my family, and I am upset with myself. I don’t want to do bad things, yet sometimes I still do. God will forgive you. Ask Him to. Be sincere and then ask Him to help you not to do these things again.
Do you believe in your heart that Jesus is God’s son? Do you believe in Jesus as the Redeemer of your sins? Would you be willing to make that confession in front of people?
Baptism will wash you clean, it will remove your sins. You will be baptized under the water (like being buried) into Jesus’ death. When you come up (resurrect) you will be new. You will have the Holy Spirit now living inside you. From this moment you are a child of God.  Now go and live like a child of God. Do all you can to make God’s Kingdom on this earth grow and prosper. It is up to you.


Starla said...

Well mom....I am and have been blessed to be raised by such great parents. Being a Christian has always been VERY important to me and you know that!! You, dad and Grandma Ryan were my examples and I want to be known to have the love for God and the church like you all do!! I have grown in to a great Christian lady because of the three of you!! I have grown so much as a Christian. Now I have Bill and his kids to worry about. I have done my absolute best to be a great example to them and show them how important it is to be a Christian and live a Godly life. I will continue to be that example to them. I am FAR from perfect and have such a long way to go to be the Christian lady I want to be....but I grow more and more each day. Bill and I also do Bible reading and a devotion each and every night before bed and we pray daily. Bill has come such a LONG way in the past year and I couldn't be prouder!! The kids have also changed!! It is great having them here with us!! God TRULY has blessed me with Bill, his kids and his family!! I pray I can be the example to them that you, dad and grandma were to me!! I LOVE YOU AND DAD SOOOOOOO MUCH!!!

Jeff's Journal said...

I don't see you as bossy. Of course your siblings might. I like how you are a take-charge person. I like how you are such a servant. I like your willingness.