(By: Brenda Hoeve)

I once was an atheist. I did not believe in God whatsoever. Jesus Christ to me was like believing in Santa Claus, it's all fantasy. I was rude to those who would try to talk to me about Jesus and would argue with them over Bible stories. My mother, even though she did not go to church, tried to get me to go. I said, 'Whatever for? I don't even believe in God. Besides, that's my only day to sleep in.'

God has ways to reach people. He works plans for people's lives to direct them to Himself. Prayer is the key to salvation. Somebody was praying for me. It could have been the prayers of my grandmother, whom I never saw, or an aunt who loved the Lord. It could have been the prayers of the school teacher I lived with four years when I was a child. I don't know who or how many people prayed for me, but one day I just came to the knowledge of God's existence, and knew Jesus was the Savior of the world.

You could come to the same knowledge; somebody could be praying for you. You may not believe me right now ... but you are as special to Jesus Christ as any other person who has lived, or will live, on this planet.

Let me explain how my conversion took place. I worked at a pre-fabrication housing company hanging wallpaper and was laid off. In fact, everybody who worked for the company was laid off at that time. We found out the company was to file bankruptcy.

I received a phone call from one of my fellow co-workers who did carpentry work at the same company I worked for. He asked if I would be interested in hanging wallpaper in one of our duplexes purchased by a minister of the Free Methodist Church. I thought I would do about anything for money, thinking I'd have to tolerate being 'preached to.' I asked one of my female co-workers, who also hung wallpaper, to help me with the job. We worked three days for the reverend. Not once did he preach to me or even give an invitation to his church. He was very attentive to me and the co-worker, bringing us something to drink and snacks to eat. The co-worker discussed her martial problems with him. The reverend was kind, considerate and compassionate. He did not preach to her either. He just listened to her many hurts, and prayed with her.

After we completed our assignment, we went our separate ways. Before the week was over I started thinking, 'Maybe I should take my kids to Sunday school.' I didn't realize at the time it was God's Holy Spirit speaking to my spirit. My intention was to take my children to the church where the Pastor I met preached. I thought of dropping them off and picking them up after Sunday school was over.

When the reverend saw me come into the church with the children, his mouth dropped open. He was delighted to see us and asked me to stay for adult Sunday school, of which he was the teacher. I did not want to, but because he was so nice to me and my co-worker, I couldn't say no. After Sunday school, he invited me to stay for the worship service. I don't remember what he preached on. After the service the reverend gave me a book called, 'Good News for Modern Man.' It was the books of the New Testament written in plain English.

It seemed like a miracle. My mother's wishes came true. Many times previously I refused going to church and would throw away anything pertaining to Bible scriptures someone would give me. Now I was in a church in mid June of 1972, accepting a New Testament Bible from the Pastor.

The next morning after my husband left for work and the children were still sleeping- with a lit cigarette in my hand and drinking a cup of coffee - I started reading the Bible. I read the book of Matthew, Mark and Luke, all at one sitting.

I became a Christian reading the book of Matthew. God opened my eyes to the Truth; revealing His love for all of mankind. When reading all the wonderful things Jesus did to help people, I could visualize myself walking beside Him; a witness to everything He said and did. Jesus became real to me. I felt tenderness towards Him. I felt He was a friend of mine. I felt His love.

Reading on: 'Some of the governor's soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire battalion. They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him (color of royalty). They made a 'crown' of long, sharp thorns, and put it on His head, and they placed a stick in His right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt down before Him in mockery, yelling, 'Hail, King of the Jews'. They spit on Him and grabbed the stick and beat Him on the head with it.'

Now I felt anger rise up within me. I felt hatred for those soldiers, because they were hurting someone I cared about. Jesus stood mute before His accusers. They nailed Him to the cross, naked. For three hours He suffered. The mocking kept on: 'If you're the Christ, come down from the cross,' they shouted!

Two criminals, one on each side of Jesus, were hung that day also. One was a thief who mocked Jesus; the other criminal reprimanded the thief for being un-repentant. Jesus told the one who looked to Him for salvation that he would be in Paradise with Him that day.

Even on the cross, Jesus saved.

I was so caught up in the moment; tears welled up in my eyes so much I could hardly see to read. Then Jesus spoke these words, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.' Like a bolt of lightening striking me in the chest, I became aware that I too mocked Jesus and profaned His wonderful name. I was overwhelmed with grief. I asked Him to forgive me; then knowing that He did, I became a child of God.

When I think about the torture that Jesus went through, especially being beaten beyond human recognition, I want to lay down my life for Him. Human nature gets in the way plenty of times, and I know I displease Him sometimes. Jesus still forgives the repentant heart.

Jesus took away my desire to smoke cigarettes when I decided to be a Sunday school teacher. I wanted to be a good example.

Since that day in June of 1972, when I first met Jesus, I have prayed for my loved ones. Prayer brought me into His Kingdom, and I pray it will bring others in the Kingdom. It's not God's will that any should perish, but have everlasting life through Jesus Christ. As Christians, we are to go and preach the Good News to the world; making disciples. This is our mission.

God has a plan for our lives. God knows our hearts. He knows everything about us -- our hurts, motives, pride, and our secrets. He will work through us individually. Many people think they can accomplish anything they choose to do, but they fail to realize that God can crush a self-relying dream by snuffing out the breath He gave us.

Because I now believe in God and trust Jesus to save me, it is difficult for me to comprehend that at one time, I had no faith in Him, or His existence. The universe and all creation are too complex to 'just happen.' How can anybody not believe in a Creator?

God would love for you to give Him your heart. Is that so difficult, knowing how much He did for you?

Another writing from Brenda you might enjoy reading: Dear Wonderful Father Of Miracles

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. You can even have that assurance RIGHT NOW! 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 you 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, because in Christ, it is impossible to put a value on the worth of your soul in light of eternity.


JESUS DID IT! and...


Remember: All that we do in this life comes back to our God-given purpose which is to serve and glorify God. The money and assets we accumulate, the fame and power we've attained or seek to attain - all of the things of this nature will one day pass away, but those lives of others we impact for Jesus Christ will last for eternity, and we will be rewarded for the part we helped play by impacting those lives ... for eternity.
Matthew 6:19-21 is our assurance)