FINDING THE PEACE AND LOVE OF GOD
By: Gail Russell
At one time, I lived my life as many people do ... like a bottle in the sea, going with whatever current carried me ... without plan or purpose. Now that is no longer so, and I know I have a clear purpose; that there is a definite plan for my life unfolding day by day ... and God has a plan for you as well!
My husband Gene and I live in a nation where the vast majority live with no interest in the existence of God and could not care about the claim that it is possible to have a living relationship with Him through Jesus. We are the opposite because we know God exists, and we also know that He loves all people everywhere and doesnít want them to enter eternity without a saving knowledge of His love. At one time, I lived my life as many people do, like a bottle in the sea, going with whatever current carried me, without plan or purpose. Now that is no longer so, and I know I have a clear purpose; that there is a definite plan for my life unfolding day by day. I think many people need to have this same knowledge that comes from an encounter with the living Saviour, Jesus Christ. I came to that knowledge and relationship as many do, little at a time as I got in touch with my own inner being. The Lord has been so kind and loving, even when I was not seeking Him. I am forever grateful for His mercy and grace.
I was the oldest daughter in a fairly religious family, as both of my parents were Catholic. My Mom was from an Italian background, and my Dad was Czechoslovakian. I grew up in Syracuse, a city in central New York. As a young child I remember going to different churches. One was a Slovak church near my grandmotherís house and the mass was said in Latin. The other church we would go to, which was most of the time, was closer to our house. Once a week we would go from the public school to the Catholic school and get what was called "religious instruction." As a young girl I really felt a love for God and the things of God, but I didnít have a whole lot of truth. When I was twelve I went through a ceremony in the Catholic Church called confirmation. Seeing a movie of myself that day, I had a look of expectancy, and I remember believing that somehow the Holy Spirit was going to come into my life in a greater way.
I ended up feeling fairly empty inside.
In high school I became less sensitive to the things of the Lord. I started going to parties and bars. In my junior year of high school, I got up early every morning and went to mass with my brother Paul for the lent season. However, it was all a works mentality trying to get acceptance with God through activities and not faith in Christ. By the end of my high school years, I stopped going to church altogether because I couldnít get close to God through my own efforts. I ended up feeling fairly empty inside. The other thing that came in was the rebellion of being a teenager, and it was easier to look at the hypocrisy of different people and say thatís just not for me.
During those years of ignoring God, I still had thoughts of Him because I remember continuing to pray as a university student. One night I was pretty high on drugs, and as I was alone in my room and I started crying out to God knowing that there has got to be more to life. As I prayed I felt a tangible presence in my room, convincing me once again that God was both real and ever ready to hear us when we call to Him. I also called out to God when I was in a major accident; my car was totally wrecked, but no one was hurt. I was living at my parentsí home, after finishing university. It had been raining earlier in the day, so the roads were a bit slick. I was driving to a friendís home on the interstate when my rear tires hydroplaned and the car spun around like a donut at least twice before going off the highway over the guard rail. As I was spinning, I cried out to the Lord, "God, please save me" My car was going backwards down the embankment and stopped only because it hit a tree. If it hadnít turned backwards, I would have been killed or seriously injured. People who saw the spinning and the car going over the guardrail, came running down to help. It is Godís mercy and grace that I survived that ordeal with only a couple bruises and a state of shock. When I returned to work on Monday, my boss was amazed at my story and suggested that I go to the chapel and thank the Lord for saving me. That seemed like a good idea, so off I went. However, it wasnít until another ten years that I really got serious about seeking the Lord.
In my early thirties, my youngest sister, Elaine, took a strong stand as a born again Christian. I think she had already been saved as a five year old at a neighbourís house. This neighbour had a childrenís Bible study, and I remember Elaine saying that she learned all about Jesus. After high school and college, she moved to Massachusetts and got involved with the Charismatic renewal. At first we all thought that she was in a cult, but then I realized her happiness was genuine. I had never been around anybody like her. I worked in a huge hospital at the time in Atlanta, and I only knew a couple of other Christians. Those people were like my sister Ė peaceful and happy. I couldnít figure it. One time I went on a hike with one of these Christian friends, and she shared about her faith. There was something very real and very attractive about her lifestyle because she was always positive, even when there were troubles in her life. I knew she loved the Lord, and she had something more than what I had ever experienced or knew in my Catholic walk. Around that time Elaine would quote Scriptures to me, saying, "Itís not by your works; itís by faith in Jesus that you have salvation." But it was like there were blinders on my understanding.
As Elaine was growing in her faith, I was struggling in an unhappy, destructive marriage which eventually ended in divorce after ten years. The lifestyle we were leading, and especially that he was leading, was affecting me because he was an alcoholic and a drug user. As I was getting to my mid thirties, I had stopped all heavy drinking and illicit drugs because I didnít want that kind of lifestyle. I wanted something more. I started attending the support group, Al-Anon, which was a tremendous help and challenged me to think about my life and choices and a higher power. My grandmother died in 1985, and her death really shook me. We were a close family, and she was the only grandparent I ever knew. As I went to her funeral and grieved, I began questioning my own mortality. There had been a couple more brushes with death, and I started to be more open and attentive to the gospel message.
When Elaine would come and visit, she always shared her faith in a gentle but effective way. I went on a vacation, and coming back from this trip, I was thinking, "I should feel rested and refreshed, but I am feeling totally distraught." This was August 17, 1987. I called Elaine, who was living in Boston, and I was in Atlanta. I told her, "Elaine, I need your faith. My life isnít working." She said, "You donít need my faith. You need your faith in Jesus." I said, "Yeah, that is what I mean. That is what I am calling about. I want you to know that I do need Jesus." Elaine prayed with me while on the phone. I was in the living room in my home by myself, and there was a tangible presence of God that came. I knew that Jesus was truly my Saviour and all my sins were forgiven! It was like a shower coming down from the top of my head to my toes, and I had such a peace. I had never felt that kind of peace before, since I was a typical "worry-wart" Ė always anxious. My marriage was falling apart, but I found I had a complete and sudden peace because I knew that God was with me. My parents became born-again in 1987, also, at Christmas time. We would soon all be joining Elaine in our praying for my other sister, Karen, and my brother, Paul, and his wife. We wanted each one to have a true relationship with the Lord.
I didnít know many Christians back in the 80ís, so I just went day to day. While talking about my former husband with my hairdresser, I turned to Neva and said, "Neva, all I can do for him is just pray." She said, "Pray?
Are you a Christian?" and I said, "Well yeah. I am." She said, "Where do you go to church?" I said, "I donít go to church." She said, "Iím backslidden.
Why donít we go to church?" So Neva, her boyfriend Larry, and I, started going to churches. We ended up at Nevaís former church, and the pastor, Chuck Strong, was a lovely young pastor. There were times when I didnít go with Neva or Larry, and I would sit in the back row. I would go into church, sit in the back row and just cry for a while. The Lord did a great healing work in me, and I was baptized in water at that church.
People were walking around while they were praying. I was from a Catholic background where you didn't pray out loud other than to repeat the same prayer over and over.
One of the churches that I also visited was a spirit-filled Episcopal church. I went to their prayer meeting, but I couldnít figure out what was going on. People were walking around while they were praying. I was from a Catholic background where you didnít pray out loud other than to repeat the same prayer over and over. So the prayer meeting was foreign to me, but an older lady gave me a tract about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I went home and read it. I thought, "Okay, maybe this is what I need," so I called Elaine in Boston and asked her about this baptism. I asked, "Is this for everybody?" and she said, "Yeah." She would pray in tongues on the phone and tell me to say whatever comes. She would be praying in tongues, but I would be on the line silent because I didnít know what to do. Still, I was so hungry for God, and He knew that. He was so gracious that during one of my lunch times when I was in my car, I was singing to the Lord and all of a sudden I started singing in a different language. Then I thought, "Oh this is what that means," and I started learning more about prayer and praying in tongues.
Those early years as a born again Christian I was in the church a lot because I didnít know a lot of Scripture and I wanted to learn. One church member offered a new believerís class, so I went to that. There were only three of us, but he was so faithful because he saw the hunger in each of us.
During my younger years as a Catholic, we werenít encouraged to study the Bible. Our religious instruction was based on catechisms, not the Bible, so we didnít study Godís Word. At home we had a big family Bible, but we didnít study it as a family either. Though, we went to church as a family and said our evening prayers together when we were young. We heard the gospel to a certain extent during the mass, because you would always hear portions of the gospel, but I donít recall there being a big emphasis or push for individual or group study. We also recited the "Apostles Creed" during the mass, which is a confession of belief in the Trinity and basic doctrines.
Now, I think the Catholic Church has promoted more Bible study, but when I was growing up it wasnít so.
Some people, when they get truly born again, feel to stay in the Catholic Church to try and share truth with other Catholics. I feel a new burden for Catholics. Recently, while visiting Napier, I met a person in the town square preaching the gospel. I went up to him and said, "Thank you for doing this," and we started talking. He said that he had gone to another country and was challenged because he saw somebody preaching. He was preaching every Friday in the town square, and he told me that the Lord had called him to stay in the Catholic Church. So some people are called to stay. I donít want to offend them, yet I want to see people get out of the deception of Catholicism and embrace what is true. It is the bondage to unbiblical traditions which really grieves me, like the repetition of prayers that are meaningless because they are not Biblically based. Praying to saints and to Mary is not Biblical doctrine. The Bible tells us to pray to our Father in the mighty name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Catholics have built shrines to Mary. I read one account about how a church in South America had actually put Mary on the cross. There is a lot of this idol worship and I donít think that Catholics even know that it is idol worship as they erect these statues.
I said to my Mom that I canít pray for someone who is already dead because theyíre either in Heaven or in Hell. She said, "Oh thatís what our priest, Father John told me recently that he canít pray for the dead," and I thought, "Their priest must have gotten his Bible out and saw that you cannot pray for the dead because there is no in-between place. Purgatory is a man-made doctrine." There is a part of Catholicism which is a very beautiful thing and that is the reverence and fear of God. And yet another part is totally mixed up because it relies upon an organization rather than the Lord. It seems that many Catholics are focused on the church, and feel itís the organization that has all of the power. For example, youíve got to confess your sins to a priest who will then have the power to forgive you.
It is all backwards. I'm glad my Mom knows that she can confess her sins directly to God the Father.
It is all backwards. Iím glad my Mom knows that she can confess her sins directly to God the Father.
When I got filled with the Holy Spirit I realized the importance of Godís Word and I felt I had to catch up because I was 35 years old when I got saved. I didnít have a whole lot of knowledge of Godís Word but fortunately God does redeem the time. I would go into church every time it was open. I would listen to Christian radio a lot. I watched Christian TV and borrowed a lot of different tapes. Then the Lord opened a door for me to go to Holland and Germany. While I was in Holland I went to visit Peggy North, a missionary my church was sponsoring. She was in her fifties when she answered the call to missions and during my visit, Peggy sowed special words into my life. I was up all night praying and I felt like the Lord was speaking to me to go to Bible school and be prepared to go to missions. I was very, very hungry for the Word and I felt God wanted to train me up so I could go and share the gospel in foreign countries. I had always thought about Asia, especially China.
While I was in Bible school I got a burden for Vietnam. I started working with some of the Vietnamese and praying for that country. One particular time of intercession the Lord spoke to me that He also wanted me to pray for the Vietnam vets (those who fought in the war), specifically to pray for healing to come into their lives. I did and continue to pray for vets. Those two years in Bible College were very good years, and I felt I had grown a lot. In-between the two years I went on my first missions trip and that was to Panama in Central America. It was very hot and we had to walk into the jungle, but it was a wonderful two weeks and the people were so hungry for the Word. The missionaries we were working with were very gracious and very sensitive too because they taught us by their example.
At the end of my second year of training I decided I should take a few courses in teaching English as a second language, which could help me to get into certain countries, for instance China. I graduated in í93 and then in í94 I was working with a local Vietnamese Baptist church. Some of their members were my English students and one of these students invited me to his church for a special ceremony. Everyone there was Vietnamese except for perhaps six Americans. The pastor asked Dr. Russell to come up and share a few words, and he shared about how their church was a miracle church. By this time I had been single for a few years and wasnít really looking for a husband, but I had prayed in Godís timing He would bring the right mate.
This is how I met Gene. I could see his love for the people, and he had worked for the Vietnamese and really loved them. You never know how God is going to orchestrate it and how you are going to meet because out of all those churches we met in that little Vietnamese Baptist Church. We got married in that same church on June 17th 1994. I use this story to encourage single people to wait upon the Lord because there were other people that I met and you think, "Oh, could this be the right one," but if you really want Godís best you need to wait. The Lord then had us as missionaries in our own country because we worked with the Vietnamese.
Often in life, our own lives are impacted by the life decisions of those around us, and how we respond to their choices becomes critical for us and for the other individual. A central lesson along that line came to me because of decisions in my sisterís life, and I learned that responsibility to those around us, when we are Christians, is more about communicating Godís truth than it is about us reacting to life and to others on the basis of our feelings. Something many people want to ignore is that truth always comes before feelings or human relationships. Our God is love, but He is also a God who has declared the rules, rewards and penalties of life.
Like me (in my first marriage), my other younger sister, Karen, had married someone who was not of good character. Because we never knew the fullness of Godís love we ended up settling for people who appeared to be loving but in the end they werenít. Karen married an alcoholic, and in that marriage she was threatened. She made some very bad choices and performed euthanasia on a couple of patients. She was sent to prison for eight years because of that, convicted of manslaughter. Karen had compassion for people, but her compassion was so distorted because of her home life. She didnít know the Lord, so she wasnít walking in any kind of discernment. In her first few weeks of prison she was totally depressed and didnít know what life was going to bring her. A woman befriended her and early on started professing love for her. Karen just fell right into this lesbian lifestyle.
Right away I sent her the Word of God stating that this was not of God and that she was against His will. Some of the Scriptures I shared included: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Romans 1:24-27; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; and Genesis 19:5. I also sent her testimonies of people who had come out of the gay lifestyle.
She went her merry way, without full recognition that her lifestyle choice was a sin and an abomination to God.
I tried to minister truth and she didnít receive it. She went her merry way, without full recognition that her lifestyle choice was a sin and an abomination to God. I didnít know Gene when she first went to prison, but I had soon met Gene and a short time later we were married. Karen started telling us that she was going to move up to Connecticut with her lover and have a lesbian marriage. They wanted our acceptance, so I tried again in love to share that I couldnít accept that. She wrote back from prison saying, "Youíre my sister, not my preacher," and she didnít want to hear what we had to say. Gene and I discussed it and we decided that we were not going to accept her calls and we were not going to have relationship with her. Gene wrote to her a particularly hard letter saying that if you have chosen this we are going to cut you off forever. What you are doing is an abomination and you will either acknowledge that you are wrong and repent or youíll never have relationship with us again. We are not going to play games and encourage you in something that is going to take you to hell. That was the bottom line and it was over.
I cried and cried because we were pretty close in age and we had been close most of our lives. Then she renounced that lifestyle. It turned out to be the thing God used, and she thanked us much later. When she began getting weekend passes from the prison she would take the train from the city down to my parents. God was setting her up for all kinds of things because it was on the train that she met Dan who is now her husband of six years. Dan saw Karenís hurt and rejection, as well as her caring and compassionate character. First thing you know she was dating him for a season and then they were married.
My Mom is a pretty straight shooter as well, and one time as Karen was going through her problems Mom said, "Karen, come over here and sit down."
The Holy Spirit came and Karen just sobbed and sobbed. There was a lot of healing that was done just having the love of our parents and knowing that she could be safe in going to their home on the weekends, but she also needed to hear the truth that she was going down a road of destruction. She had been living in denial of several things. Now when she talks about her past, she knows that what she did as a nurse was murder and she has obviously repented. Dan and Karen are both pretty strong Christians now, and they are transformed people.
Sometimes you canít look at outward appearances when the Lord is dealing with someone. When we sent that hard letter to Karen we got one back that was full of her pain. I think we have to be led by the Holy Spirit in all our ways. He knows when to use "tough love" and when to use a gentler approach. It wasnít a matter of a couple of weeks before we got a totally different kind of letter back, a totally humble one where there was genuine repentance because she acknowledged that she was wrong. Then things started getting back on track and we received her calls. To see a photograph of her now compared to when she was in prison is amazing. Itís really amazing! Iím grateful that Karenís prison experience was turned around for her good. We all have to look at our own issues (sooner is better than later!). Karen is a testimony for Godís grace, forgiveness and His power once you yield to it.
In 1996, the Lord brought about different connections, and Gene and I were soon off to Indonesia for two years. That was a time of growth because there were a couple of times during life in Indonesia I literally threw up my hands and I was ready to pack it up and just go back home. We found that the Indonesians put their culture above God, and many of those who confessed to be Christians were only nominally so. We went through persecution because we were trying to bring righteousness and a standard of living according to Godís Word. Indonesian society is very gentle outwardly. You donít raise your voice, you never show anger. In fact the angrier an Indonesia gets the more heíll smile quite often, but if you insult Islam there is a raging inferno that just blows out in society and riots begin. Very often people are killed in Indonesian villages. Living in an Islamic society, and Indonesia is the largest Islamic nation in the world, you will be confronted if you are going to stand for righteousness. We were in a Christian school and not everyone there was Christian. Living and working at a Christian school in an Islamic area also made for volatile situations. Gene was the headmaster of the dorm, and the fact that we would not allow the rich Muslim students to overturn our rules was an irritant to them. But at the same time I knew we needed to stay there, and I knew that it was important for certain students for us to be there.
It was a Christian school, but about a third of the students were in fact Muslim. It was a very elite school requiring an enormous amount of money for Indonesians to go there. It was totally beyond the means of anybody except the very rich, and many of the powerful people in Suhartoís government had sent their kids there. The tragedy was that some of our students told Gene first hand that their parents didnít want to see them, and they had just dumped them off at the boarding school. The older boys in the dorm had got so used to having their own way, but Gene was determined that they werenít going to be free to break the rules that we had established. There was one incident in particular where we had to kick out a couple of kids that were using drugs, and that set off a whole other chain of events. There were times when it was so frustrating because youíre not only fighting spiritual forces, youíre fighting the people who should be working alongside you and helping you.
While in Indonesia, Gene saved a young Muslim girlís life. We didnít realize that she was a drug user. She was another case where she didnít feel loved, so she would go to the discos on the weekends when she was 14 years old and somehow get drugs. Of course, her whole body chemistry was mixed up.
That was one of those special times again where I spoke into her life about how much God loves her.
As she was playing sports she had an arrest, so the nurse and Gene were administering CPR on the way to the hospital while the driver and I were at the front praying. She died three times on the way to the hospital, but the final outcome was that she survived. Her mother knew that we loved her daughter and that we cared for her whole family, so she was very, very grateful. Those are the seeds you sow in Godís love. I think also with the different staff members, they knew that even though we had the tough love policy, it was love. One student in particular enjoyed drama and was in all the school dramas. She was one of the older girls, and I was making my rounds when I saw that she was reading a book called China Cry. I asked if I could sit and talk, and we started talking about this book. It was about the persecuted Christians in China, and she began crying. That was one of those special times again where I spoke into her life about how much God loves her.
In an area above the dorm that was once a rubber plantation, we would often walk and pray. We would sit on the hill of this now undeveloped area, pray for those around us and speak over that whole area that the Muslim stronghold would be broken. The Christian school where we worked was a God given vision to the man who started the school. He had three different campuses, and his vision was to teach these kids, to give them strong academics in a Christian school where they would hear the gospel and many would get saved if they hadnít already been saved. This elite school was in a rural area, next to a village so that the village people who were poor could get jobs as house keepers, grounds keepers, drivers, cleaning ladies, etc. If you are born into a village life you never get to advance yourself in any significant way. When these people saw us come in and respect them and befriend them, they saw the love of God being manifested through us.
There was tremendous political unrest in that country. During the first year Gene had gone with a friend to get pizzas, and they almost didnít make it back. There was the mob out trying to overthrow cars. The second year was when Suhartoís government fell which started with riots in Jakarta, only forty minutes from our school. We had to send our kids home because we didnít want them to be on our campus where there was no security. They would be safer at home. Our boss said that we should leave on one of the evacuation flights, so that is what we did. It was really hard because there was no closure with anybody, no goodbyes to students or staff, because we had to leave in a hurry. That is when we really sensed loss for the people we loved.
We had Muslims who worked for us, and there was one Muslim worker we specifically gave a Bible to. We prayed with him several times. He would take the Bible and a flash light and read at night. He would go up to the hills at night and read because he was afraid that if anyone found him reading the Bible he would come under intense persecution. He read the New Testament from cover to cover. There were no Christians in his whole village so it was very difficult for them to even let the truth in because of the fear of man. Again we see the power that the enemy can exert through family and friends and the village structure. Our dear worker knew that we loved him. He was the one who drove us through the night so we could escape when all the riots were going on. We ended up giving him all Geneís clothes that we couldnít take with us. I could hardly talk that night because I was crying so much.
Before Suhartoís government fell, we had already started planning to go to China, so there was a bit of direction there, but at the same time it was a very unsettling time. We went back to the States, and it was a summer of going through emotional healing. Then, by the end of that summer we were on our way to China. Even though we were going into a Communist country, there was such a welcome and our students were so appreciative of us. It was a breath of fresh air, and it was like night and day in terms of studentsí attitudes. Again there were some challenges, but some wonderful things happened. We were there when the US bombed the Chinese embassy by mistake in Yugoslavia, so there were demonstrations going on and we felt peopleís hatred just because we were Americans. At that same time we were getting emails from students saying, "We donít blame you. We love you," so that was special.
All we could do was just grieve with her.
We would invite students over to have a games night, and in the course of one game night I found that one of Geneís students was a Christian. I ended up inviting her to a womenís Bible study, and she blossomed. It was wonderful to see how this shy young woman became bold in her faith. She became pregnant with her second child, and she was forced to have an abortion. She allowed that to happen because if she didnít, her first child could be denied schooling, she would lose her job with the university, and even her parents could be punished. All we could do was just grieve with her. I couldnít advise her. She had to make her choice. There are women who go into hiding but itís a very, very difficult situation. Another Chinese woman came to me because she wanted to know how Christians get married in the West, and that was a great opportunity for us to show our wedding video.
While she blossomed spiritually, over the course of the months she became weaker and weaker because she had cancer. We baptized her in our bathtub, and she died while she was still in her late twenties. Her whole family came to Christ, and people who knew her called her "the angel." She was a real worshipper of God.
After our time in China, Gene and I went to Taiwan for a year. That was a good year of teaching, and as always, relying on the Lord for His grace and wisdom. I had several classes to teach and was very stretched. We were in Taiwan when the big 7.6 earthquake hit. Gene was already awake when I wondered what was happening. Again, as we called on the name of Jesus, we felt Godís hand of protection on us. By the end of our year in Taiwan, we were focusing on New Zealand. We had visited in 1998 as tourists, and we fell in love with this country. We hunted for jobs, and I got a job working in the hospital. I am a professional medical librarian, living in a thoroughly modern, thoroughly secular nation. In my heart of hearts I think missions work is wherever we are, whether itís in an English speaking country or a foreign speaking country. I believe our role as missionaries here is to pray, and thatís become our greater burden over the last few years. Wherever we have fellowshipped with other believers, we have had that focus of prayer, but I think in New Zealand itís been greater, going into that deeper intercession that some people donít want to go into. I donít always want to intercede because it is draining, and it can be painful. Yet I think itís what God wants of each believer as a sacrifice and act of obedience. Really anybody who is open can and should be an intercessor because we are told to pray continuously. I think there are periods when it is very, very important to do so. Right now that is where I am. I am trying to be sensitive to praying for people, and there are certain times I know prayer has opened peopleís hearts. You see change because of prayer. Some people donít realize how much of a spiritual battle is going on here.
No cloudy days exist for me where the sun is not shining
In summary, my life, since becoming a Christian, has been full of change, of unexpected directions, of wonderful surprises, of hard choices, and of difficult challenges. In spite of all that, I wouldnít change a thing, because in all of these changes, there has been that central still point in my heart, like the center of a turning universe. It is the place where God and I live together, where Jesus Christ is a real and constant companion who sticks closer that anyone else ever could. No storms come that do not have a calm center. No cloudy days exist for me where the sun is not shining. Gene and I have been through riots, social unrest, earthquakes and typhoons, but we have never lost the peace or presence of God.
"But whatever I am now it is all because God poured out such kindness and grace to me" (1 Corinthians 15:10 Ė The Living Bible).
My prayer is that everyone who reads this testimony will come to know Jesus and walk closely with Him. No matter what happens, He is always there for us. I want to know Him more, and I thank God for all that He has done in my life. He is good, and I will continue to praise Him.
Do you want to find God?
To enter the Kingdom of God you must repent of your sins and develop a godly character through faith in Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul put it this way:
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:19-23).
All of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, yet Jesus sacrificed His life upon the cross to pay our penalty. The punishment of sin is death, yet Jesus rose from the dead on the third day so that we can receive eternal life. To receive forgiveness and to make peace with God, you must call upon the name of the Lord and confess that Jesus is Lord (See: Romans 10:9-13). Open your heart to Jesus and let Him come into your life. Call upon the Lord with the following suggested prayer:
"Lord Jesus, I know that I am lost without you, but I ask you to come into my heart and save me. Please forgive me for all the sins I have committed throughout my life.......(name those sins). Make me righteous, clean and pure by your precious blood. I believe that you died for me and rose from the dead. I believe that you are alive right now and that you are seated upon the throne of God in Heaven, so please prepare a place for me in your kingdom. Write my name in your book of life and when you return as the King, I ask you to remember me. Fill me with understanding of your love, so I can really know you and follow you all the days of my life. I believe that you are my Saviour and I confess that you are my Lord. Amen."
Become Strong In Your Faith
1) Study the Bible. Begin by reading the gospels (the
first four books of the New Testament) to know more about Jesus.
2) Meet with other Christians who love the Lord.
3) Always pray and talk to Jesus as your best friend.
4) Be baptized in water, which symbolizes being united with the death and resurrection of Christ.
5) Seek the power of God through the baptism in the Holy Spirit (See: Acts 1:8; 2:1-4).
6) Tell others about your experience with Jesus and invite them to also follow the Lord.
7) Pass this testimony on to someone else.
God bless you!
My contact address: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to read my husband's born again testimony, you may do so by clicking on the following link: The Gene Russell Story
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"And this gospel of the
died for sinners] shall be preached in all the world for a witness
unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
(Quote from Jesus Himself: Matthew 24:14).
Consider how many children in "all the nations" have never heard YET what Jesus accomplished for THEM at the cross? PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS TO THE LITTLE CHILDREN!
To help us share the Best News every person needs to hear on this planet, randomly click FOR JESUS on just three (3) of the JESUS DID IT! links below. It will take just a few moments of your time. Please - thatís all you are asked to do. God will reward you! (Of course, be highly encouraged to forward one of these video clips to those who may have never heard what Jesus did for them on the cross ... especially young people). Thank you so much!
JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT!
JESUS DID IT! - or - JESUS DID IT!
(Please paste one of the above links onto your Facebook page - website - blog - video; etc.)
Let God Use Your Salvation Testimony!
If this testimony has blessed you, would you please take a few moments and share with us HOW it has blessed you? Your feedback is very important. Please mention the author of this testimony when you email your comments. Thank you so very, very much! Email: email@example.com
A Special Message: http://www.precious-testimonies.com/Exhortations/f-j/HelpingShareTheMessageOfTheCross.htm
Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.
To get to know God; to be at peace with God; to have your sins forgiven; to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity; to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life.
The staff and our ministry supporters so greatly appreciate hearing how God is touching lives for His glory through this outreach. If this ministry has blessed you in some special way, would you please consider taking a brief moment and share your blessing with us? Simply email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We truly thank each of you who allow us to publish your testimony, for those who faithfully pray (and fast) for this outreach, for those of you who help support the ministry financially, and for those of you who pass along these testimonies and other ministry writings to others. Especially to prisoners! The part the Holy Spirit has you play is vital in helping win lost souls and being engaged in discipleship, and we can never thank you enough for the labor of love and support you provide on behalf of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Precious Testimonies is supported financially by those God directs to sow into this ministry. We ask each person reading this to please ask God on an on-going basis if He would have you sow a financial gift to this evangelistic outreach of His - trust that He will clearly communicate His will to you in the matter - then simply be obedient. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the current financial needs of this outreach, or any other questions you may have.
For convenience, you can simply click on the secure Pay Pal donate button below if you want to donate by credit card. Otherwise, you can send your precious gift to: Precious Testimonies, P.O. Box 516, Jenison, MI 49429.
(Precious Testimonies is a non-denominational 501-C-3 ministry, and financial love offerings to this ministry are tax-deductible. A summary of financial love offerings can be viewed by clicking on the following link: Financial Summary).
Inquiries or comments are welcome at our E-mail address
by clicking on the envelope icon below.
Thank You, and God bless you!
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