Since I was young, I always loved God. I was raised a Catholic, I was taught about God’s Word, but never understood the full meaning of it. I remember when I was young, I went to a service and I found it boring (I saw no life in it), then I thought about those black people in the gospel churches that sang and clap their hands they look more joyful that I look on that day and I thought why can’t we have the same thing (I mean the same kind of joy) in the Catholic church ? But from this thought I found no answer.
My parents brought me and my 2 sisters to the Catholic church for a couple of years, but still, I found it boring, understood nothing, and on Sundays, my friends were playing street hockey, so I thought I was missing all the fun. We, as children, began to complain to our parents because we learned nothing and we all found that going to church was a duty, so after much complaining our parents decided that we will not go anymore (but only in the big reunion, which is Easter & Christmas). I still loved God and had a hunger for spiritual things but the church did not fulfill my spiritual need and went looking at other things (I mean MY WAY).
Then when I was a teenager I began to read books about Dr. Murphy. He is not a Christian (I think), but quote some Scriptures from the Holy Bible (The Word has Power…) something like positive thinking (you know say it over and over, and claim it…). But it made me to read that Bible (at that time I only had a little New Testament). I began reading that Book, but never understood anything, I mean I understood that Jesus went to Jerusalem, to the river Jordan, etc., but I couldn’t understand what that Book could do to me since the story was 2000 years old, I couldn’t understand how it could relate to me today???
I read it for a while, but I didn’t understood a thing, so I put it back for a while then I felt guilty of not reading it, so I took it again, and went like this for a couple of years. Then strange things happened to me. I don’t know if it’s because I read the Bible or because some people prayed for me (though I truly believe in the power of prayers, we never know who’s praying for us, thank God for His Holy Ghost) but things began to happen. I can’t remember which came first or how old was I when it happen, but I know the season though…
After a while I began to feel guilty when I swore, so I thought that I had too much pizza, or that I didn’t have enough sleep, so I went on for a while like this, but that thing (I didn’t know what a conviction was at that time) came over and over again until I quit and I never swore since I quit that day, when I was 15-20 (which was 8-13 years ago), and I was not saved yet. The way I could explain it is that it is strong enough to make you stop, but strong enough to break and force you, that is a conviction.
In those times I began to look for spiritual things (I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I was searching) I had a love for weird things… I mean I had some books on paranormal phenomena, for example I recall reading something that is called instant combustion (or something close to that, I don’t fully remember it), it was when 2 inflammable things were together only one of those would burn and not the other, and the example they gave was if you had sheets on a mattress, the sheets would burn but not the mattress, that it was the kind of stuff I was looking at, and the ghosts and similar things.
Then I was doing my regular thing for that age (for someone in the world), and then I had another deeper conviction, I mean I had to stop masturbating myself! The same kind of “feeling” came, so I stopped. I couldn’t understand, I wondered for a while, but get used to live with these things removed from my life (I mean swearing and masturbating). Then (I don’t know how long after) I came to my sister’s apartment. I knew she was religious (that is what I called those people at that time), but I didn’t want her to talk to me about it. In that time I thought this way, “You have your beliefs, I have mine, and don’t bother me about the Bible or Jesus, do your thing, and I’ll do mine”, or I even didn’t dare to go to her church.
At my sister’s apartment I used to go there often because it was close to my mother’s house (where I lived), it was on my way home, and I used to go often to her place because we were close one to another. As I arrived to her apartment, her husband was there, her friend (which I knew) was there and a guy that I didn’t. It was after supper, the table was pushed to the wall, on one side my sister and her husband, on the other side my sister’s friend, and the other guy, and me opposite to the wall.
The guy was talking to my sister’s friend about the Bible, the earth, the sky, the moon, and the galaxy a way that I never heard before. So he was fixing his attention to my sister’s friend, because the reason he came was to witness to my sister’s friend, without even noticing me when I came in. But everything he was saying made sense to my intellect, and everything he was saying was for me, I never mention a thing about it, but I knew on the inside… (You know when you are witnessing and someone is coming your way and listen, take heed, the message might be for that person. That is what happened to me, and I know that it happen to others as well).
When he had finished he ask my sister’s friend if she would like to receive Jesus in her heart, so she did (I don’t know if she meant it, but…). After everything was over, the time was to go home, because we all had to work the next morning. My sister’s friend went first, then that guy, and then me. When I got out I ran after that guy and told him that I liked what he said, and wanted to encourage him, I meant it from my heart, then he looked at me and said some thing like: “Are you saved ?” I never heard something like that before, (so I was not), then he ask me: “Did you ever received Jesus in your heart ?”
I ask him what he meant, for I knew I prayed to Jesus… Sometimes… and I read the Bible… Sometimes… Then he ask me: “Do you want to receive Jesus in your heart?” Then I thought, he didn’t ask me to go to his church, he didn’t ask me for some money, it looked safe, it look like there was no trick in what he was saying (he talked about the same Jesus, and it looked safe), so I accepted it, and I repeated a prayer after him (if you never did say a prayer to receive Jesus, you’ll have the opportunity, at the end of this message). After that I did not saw any angel, I didn’t feel anything, but I felt like I saw a beautiful movie, and then go home (that is what I felt), so I left him.
But when I came into my car I started the engine and the song that was playing on the radio (I believe it was from Robert Charlebois, or someone like him) was saying that I made a good choice. I mean the 2 first sentences that I heard when I started my car was that I made a good choice, so I froze. I couldn’t understand what happen, how it happen what it meant, but I knew that something happen.
Then later my sister ask me to go to church and I accepted (before I would have declined the offer). Then I accepted the Lord a second time (cause I didn’t understood what happen in my life the first time) then a counselor came and talked with me, and began to explain to me what happen. At that point I understood that I already made my choice before, but who cares, as long as I received Him at least once…
I began to attend my sister’s church for a while. Then the guy that led me to Christ began a Bible study, so I came. We had a very good time, and one day he talked about the Holy Spirit (one thing I never knew in the Catholic church, the only thing I knew about The Holy Spirit is when we did the cross, I mean Father, Son and Holy Spirit), and now I know how great it is to know that the Holy Spirit can speak to us.
After that teaching, I went home and did my things, but after a while I began to think: “If the Holy Spirit can speak to me now, was it possible that He spoke to me before (I mean when I had to stop swearing and masturbating).” Then I had another thought: “If the Holy Spirit spoke to me before I’m saved, and after I’m saved, then why should I be saved?” This thought haunted me for a while, but I couldn’t understand it, I was too shy to speak to the pastor, I didn’t want to disturb them, so I just put that thought on the shelf of my mind.
I thought often about it, but I had no answer until… I was thinking about it, and as usual I thought about it, but then I heard a voice saying: “Go to Revelation 3:20.” I knew it was the Holy Spirit, so all excited I thought: “That’s it, I have my revelation on what I was thinking, praise God!”
I went to the Bible and read it: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with Him and Him with me.” Then I said to the Holy Spirit: “I understand that you’re talking about the door of my heart, but it didn’t say why you spoke to me both before and after I was saved…” The Holy Spirit said: “Read it again!” So I thought: “Maybe I read it to fast…” So I read it again, but I couldn’t understand, so I said: “I can’t understand what you’re talking about…”, then the Holy Spirit said (for the third time): “Read it again!” I thought maybe I’m too excited, so I decided to read it very slowly, I pondered on each word, but still I couldn’t understand what that verse meant.
When I finished the verse I told Him again desperately: “I can’t understand!” To that He answer something like this (I don’t recall exactly what He said but it meant that):”You know when I’m knocking at the door of your heart, I still can speak through the door.” I then understood that before I received Christ the Holy Spirit spoke from the outside (through the door), but now as I have receive Jesus in my heart He can speak directly to me (in my heart), Praise the Lord!
You know, you may have talked and prayed to Jesus all your life, and have even read the Bible and gone to church, but none of those will bring you to heaven. It’s not because you’re a good boy (or girl), or because that you’re a church member that you will go to Heaven. You might know about God, but do you really know God? You have to accept Him into your life…
Here is the story of Nicodemus: “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto Him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with Him.” John 3:1-2 KJV. Let’s see what Jesus says about that: “Jesus answered him, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Unless a man is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 TAB.
Jesus talked to Nicodemus about being born again (or born from above) but, as some of us, Nicodemus didn’t understand what Jesus meant: “How can anyone,” said Nicodemus, “be born who has already been born and grown up? You can’t re-enter your mother’s womb and be born again. What are you saying with this ‘born-from-above’ talk?” John 3:4 TM.
Jesus answered him that we had a first birth from the flesh (our mothers), but we need to have a second one — a spiritual one (from above) — because God is a Spirit, and if we want to talk with Him, we need to have the same “interpreter”, the Holy Spirit, to talk to us.
I said all that because you need to open the door of your heart as I did (being born from above), otherwise you will not go to heaven, which means you will go to Hell. I know that nobody wants to go there, but if you don’t make up your mind, that’s where your heading. Read carefully now: If you go to Hell, it’s because of your decision to refuse Christ in your life. And if you go to heaven, it’s because you made a decision to receive Christ into your life (being born again) as Jesus told us in the book of Saint John, and by keeping His command.
You might say, “How do I receive Christ?” or, “How can I be born again?” Easy! First of all, you need to believe that God exists, and that He [Jesus Christ] died for you. Then you can say that prayer out loud from the bottom of your heart (because God sees your heart): “Dear God, I know I’m a sinner, and I’ve sinned against you, I’m sorry. I ask you to forgive me of all my sins. I thank you that Jesus Christ died on the cross for me, and that by His blood all my sins are now forgiven. I confess Jesus as Lord, and I truly believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead. I open the door to my heart and I ask you right now to come into my heart. I proclaim you as My Lord, My Saviour, and My God. I thank you for listening to me right now, and I ask you to show me the way that you have prepared for me on this earth. Finally, I ask you to remove this stony, cold, and rebellious heart, and replace it with a loving, compassionate, and peaceful heart. I pray all this In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
If you said this prayer from your heart, and you really meant it, then the Bible says that you’re born gain, that is, you have now been “born into” the family of God, and I encourage you to attend a church, read your Bible regularly, and pray. The apostle Paul told the church in Corinth: “Therefore if any person is [engrafted] in Christ (The Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creation altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 TAB.
God has changed the inside of you: “A new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26 TAB. This is what happened when you have received Christ. Now get some good (spiritual) food at the church, and from the Bible. One thing you might have never heard before is that God loves you — that is why He sent Jesus, that he might pay the price for our penalty, so we can be in His presence just by asking him to forgive us, and accepting His sacrifice on our behalf.
The other good news is that by accepting Christ in our lives God now written our names into His book (The Lamb’s Book of Life). When Jesus’ disciples rejoice that the devil and his demons were submitted to them (the seventy) Jesus said: “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:19 NIV. Be sure your name is written for: “If anyone’s name was not found in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:15.
God bless you.