24 January 2010

My Wife's Testimony of God's Grace

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

I was brought up in a very strict and very active Christian family. God’s Word was always taught in my home, even if it wasn’t always shown by example. My life has been fairly uneventful. I was saved at the age of 7, always involved in anything going on at the church, I even participated in a high school Bible study club that met each week.

It wasn’t until I was finished school and working full time that I started to get involved with my unsaved friends more and spend less time with the Lord. The Bible is true - in 2 Corinthians 6:14 we see that light and darkness cannot abide together, and for a time, I chose the darkness and the Lord chastened me.

It was during this time that I began a relationship with a guy who is now my husband. Now the verse in Proverbs 22:6 about training up a child was going to play an important role in my life. I always ask any women with children to hold dear to this verse and do everything in their power to make sure their children are saturated in the Word, and that the children see their trust in the truth of this Word modeled in their own lives. I ask that single women never forget the verse in 2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” I plead with them; don’t ever take the chance of getting involved with an unbeliever, not even for just one date! Don’t ever think that they can convert him - only the Holy Spirit can do that. Being ‘unevenly yoked’ can cause unimaginable grief and pain.

I started dating this young man - not saved, not interested in the things of God. He had no idea who Jesus was or why we celebrated Easter! As our relationship grew, we became more emotionally and intimately involved. After 3 years of dating, he wanted to get married, but my life was now torn in two! There was that invisible line I couldn’t cross. I could not be ‘unequally yoked’. I already was relationally, but I knew I couldn’t legally through marriage. But I LOVED this man. I was heartbroken, but could see no other way than to tell him we had to break up. He was shocked, hurt and angry. He didn’t understand how I could love him and yet not want to be with him. We had occasionally talked about spiritual things before, but this time he was listening - anything he had to do to keep from losing me. He agreed to come to church with me and we started going to a ‘new believers’ Sunday school class as well. Soon, as we were having a big discussion one night, he prayed ‘the sinner’s prayer’, and to everyone appeared to be ‘saved’, but he will tell you himself, it was just an emotional experience and saying anything he could to make me happy - he was not converted.

We continued to date and then in May of ’97 over three years later, we were engaged. We began marriage counselling classes with our pastor and I can remember thinking, “Now we’ll find out if he’s really saved.” because, even though he had prayed a prayer, I could not see any change in his behaviour or attitude, nor any desire for spiritual things. I was sure the pastor would ask the probing questions and I could know for sure, but that never happened. The classes were kept very practical and focused on the functions and details of married life. The questions I had never went away, but I never asked, either.

Our happy day came and went on Nov. 15, 1997. It was very soon after our wedding day that I began to seriously think that I had made a terrible mistake. After a couple months, I was beginning to feel hopeless and trapped and even entertained the possibility of divorcing some day. It was during one of these particularly difficult days, when we had had quite an argument, and I was in the bedroom hanging up some clothes. I was using clothespins to hang my skirts and noticed that the one I had in my hand had writing on it. It said “Don’t argue, it’s no use.” On the other side it said “Keep lefty happy”. This was an incredible shock to me, especially since my husband is left handed. I found out later that this particular clothespin had been used as part of a wedding shower game for my mother over 25 years earlier!! How it came to be in my possession in our apartment (especially after almost 2 dozen moves between my mom & I), only God knows.

Needless to say, this was certainly a motivation to go to God with my problems. I began to seek the Lord in prayer with renewed vigor and commitment. I decided that instead of nagging my husband to change, I was going to start nagging God.

At this time I was commuting into work every day on the subway (in Toronto) and would use that time to read the Bible and pray. In order to keep myself focused, I would write out my prayers. I desired that Mike would become a spiritual leader in our home and that I would have a partner who wanted to talk about spiritual things; someone to pray with. God can do amazing things when we go to Him and allow Him to work in HIS timing instead of trying to do things in our own strength with our own understanding of things. This was during our first year of marriage. Things continued without much change for almost 5 years. I continued to pray, continued to be involved at church - alone, but also made sure that I was at home when my husband wanted me to be (even if it meant missing church on Sunday) so I wasn’t making him ‘compete’ with my religion.

The Lord answered my prayer late one night when Mike was away with work. The Holy Spirit filled him with conviction and he repented and gave himself to the Lord. True salvation brings a heart change, and life was different for my husband immediately, and we have been growing together ever since. God was merciful in responding so quickly to my plea. Many women spend their entire lives praying for their spouse’s salvation.

Immediately, Mike felt that he was being called to be a pastor. After a couple years of being involved in our church and growing spiritually under the guidance of a godly couple, we moved from Ontario to New Brunswick. It’s really been amazing to us how God has moved and answered prayer, even right down to every little detail in our move from Ontario to New Brunswick, and our 3 years there as students. In April 2008, Mike finished 3 years of Bible school and we are waited – sometimes not so patiently – for God to show us our next step. And finally, he led us here, and we are so excited to be able to be here to serve the church and reach the Moosehorn community for Christ.

Ephesians 3:20-21 tells us “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever, Amen.”

God heard my prayers to have a husband I could pray with and knew my desire to have a spiritual leader in the home. Today, He has given me a strong spiritual man, who loves the Lord and has committed his life to preaching God’s Word so that others may hear and be redeemed. God truly has done ‘exceedingly abundantly’ beyond what I would ever think to ask!

12 January 2010

The Bible Contains...

This Book deserves our complete attention and obediance........Why? It sanctifies us; and directs us to Him......The Triune God who spoke life into existence.

The One who saved you from yourself....
The One who gave you a chance to live...
The One who created you and I, in His image...
The One who gives our every breath...
The One who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.........
The One who lights and directs our way.....
The One who deserves our adoration and praise.......
The One who is the only true Living God of the BIBLE! Father, Son and Holy Spirit...........

To Him be the glory forever and ever! A 66 Book love letter to you and me...... "knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:20-21.....A Book about the Glory of God, and His plan of redemption for fallen mankind......through the Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

What are You Preaching Pastor?

8 Reasons for Biblical Preaching ......Over at Enjoying God Ministries, Sam Storms, gives some helpful instruction on preaching. Why and How Should We Preach, Sam gives us eight reasons why pastors should be committed to biblical preaching.

1.We must preach because of the power of the Word of God to change human lives and to transform the experience of the church.

2.We must preach because preaching is God's ordained means for making himself known to us.

3.We must preach because preaching not only communicates truth about God, it also mediates the very person and power of God.

4.We must preach because preaching (aside from reading) is the most effective means for transmitting the truths of Holy Scripture.

5.We must preach because preaching is the fuel for worship. Preaching fans the flames of passion for Jesus.

6.We must preach because preaching is not simply the fuel for worship, preaching is worship.

7.We must preach because preaching is the catalyst for church growth, renewal, and revival.

8.We must preach because preaching is the means by which the glory of God is revealed and imparted to those who listen with faith.