Hello. This is my testimony of how I became a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ.
Both my Dad and Mom had a Catholic background. So it was both strange and I think an act of God that I started out going to a protestant church. The first one I went to was in Westminster, CA. I believe this was of "Church of God" denomination.
They had traditional Sunday School. I even remember them talking about Jesus dying on the cross and they even had a crown of thorns to show what that might have been like for Jesus.
So the story of Jesus was in grained in me very young. I also later went to Calvary Baptist in Bellflower, CA. It was cool, because they would pick up us kids at our house with a Light Green (Minty like color) Bus. So there was no excuse not to go.
Even though this happened and I was baptised into their church. I still believe I had not become a Christian. I went to their Christian camp (in Ponderosa Pines, CA) more than one time. I had fun, but there was still people who made fun of me, I was more introverted then and I questioned, aren't these suppose to be Christian girls?
I thought it wasn't very Christian like to be making fun of me like that. I never really got what made you a Christian. They would say to come down the isle and say a prayer. I thought does that make you a Christian?
You see no one really explained it well to me. I would later learn that it takes more than a prayer to save you. But that's later on in my story.
While attending Calvary Baptist, ended up watching up a television cartoon that was voiced by one of my favorite voice actors named Rob Paulsen (the show was called Mighty Max).It was on Sunday mornings when church was.
It could have been any show or anything that Satan chose. I would guess I was about 12 or 13 then and I was drawn away from Church. But Church, any how, is mainly for believers and I wasn't one then.
It was a ploy from Satan. It was to take me away from Church. Also my sisters and brothers followed me also. I even feel bad about that today. That one of the reasons they stopped going was because of me.
Either way, I left. It wouldn't be until years later, about 18 years of age and in community college that I would really seek anything of spiritual nature again.
Well one day I was going by some little square with a tree in the middle and they had what looked like to be a bible study. I sat down to listen. I think that I wanted to try to get back to learning about God.
After this, a young lady around my age then came and talked to me. Her name was Anora. Then she asked me if I wanted to have a bible study with her.
So I agreed. We went through what later I found out would be called the "Discipleship" study. I thought I was a Christian then.
I started going to their church which was in Long Beach, CA. I studied their studies. I learned their ways, talked the talk, and was baptised into their church. It was very work righteous, your worth was decided on how many converts you got.
Even though they didn't say this, but it was. I didn't live with them, but in away I was still controlled by them. It was a kingdom cult. A kingdom cult is one that uses the name of Jesus and/or the bible, but is still a cult.
They claimed to be the only ones going to Heaven and we had to convert other people to their church. It was called "International Churches of Christ," "ICOC" for short. You can see more about it on Wikipedia.com and also about some people who got away from them at Reveal.org.
I remember they kept saying that they were not a cult, but if they weren't why did they have to keep on saying they were not. Also, you could only date people in the church. They even would go so far as having the guys take you out on dates so that you would not get lonely and I guess want to go other places or leave their church in search for friendship or boyfriends/and or girlfriends.
Well, I was also constantly on edge, because of my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I had bad thoughts because of O.C.D. I would feel guilty and constantly felt the need to confess to my Discipler Anora.
It was such a burden. Then a good thing happened. My mom helped me get away from them. It was kind of hard, because that's all I had then to do anything with God. I also got on medication to help me get stable.
So, later, I went back to Calvary Baptist. It was enjoyable; they had nice meetings for the youth called, "23 Below," for what else 23 and Below (well starting after high school level, that is).
I was doing better. But I still didn't have that assurance of Christ's Salvation. They even had classes which you are suppose to take. There was 101, 201, 301, and 401.
You are suppose to take them in order. There is a flaw with this system, because I went to the beginning class and new I wasn't saved and I said their prayer (like equivalent to the "Sinner's Prayer"). And I continued to go to church not being a Christian.
I did not have assurance of salvation. I kept on feeling I had to say it again and again (praying for forgiveness), such as with the flawed Backsliding Theology (saying how people who are not showing the fruit from the Holy Spirit or living carnally and not Christ like are backsliders, this is another subject all together).
The problem was I had never slid forward in the first place (Become a real lasting convert to Christianity, See the bible for the Parable of the Sower). Work righteousness and self righteousness, has no place in the "Kingdom of God."
In Fall of 2002. I started to have panic attacks when I had a swimming class at Cerritos College.
A panic attack, I will tell you is a terrible thing. In my experience, it's not being able to think straight and my mind repeating thoughts in my head over and over. Then, followed by,being are afraid of it, then being afraid of being afraid. (Big hint if you ever get them get a paper bag and breathe in and out slowly or just slow deep breathes, that helps a lot).
It's because you are freaking out about it, that you get afraid. I would not want to move (sometimes I would be in a fetal position at school on a couple of chairs in the lobby of the theater) and It got so bad I didn't want to leave my house and then even in my own bed it would happen.
I began watching TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network). I thought this would help me,filling myself with stuff from God, I thought (of course I learned not everthing on there is of God), but it did help a little. I had TBN almost on 24/7!
Later, for about a month, I went to Fairfield, Ohio. My Mom and I were gonna live there with my older sister, Christina. The panic attacks subsided for a while, but still some of that fear would arrive once again.
Then we had to go back to California, because my sister got in trouble with the Law again.
Then it (my coversion) happened the day that what God wanted for me to know came clear. What I did not get before. The one thing I had not got understood, then became clear.
I started watching and episode of "Praise the Lord," on TBN.
I saw on tv that there was Kirk Cameron. Famously, I knew him from the show "Growing Pains" and "Kirk" (on the WB).
I already liked him as an actor and thought he was cute, so I was interested. Then I saw later him with this guy with a mustache and I thought then an Australian accent (big blunder, found out he was a Kiwi, from New Zealand, later) who ended up being Ray Comfort.
I was like who is this guy. But I was open to listening to both of them. Then I heard from Ray Comfort the very two lessons that changed my life forever. "True and False Conversion," and "Hell's Best Kept Secret."
What made these lessons extraordinary and different from all the other lessons that that cult and other churches taught me, is that they didn't just present the Gospel, they gave me the bad news first, so that the "Good News" of Jesus Christ, to make sense.
I first learned that I was a false convert, I was filled with self righteousness and had no genuine love and concern for the lost. I was more concerned with my own salvation, since I never became a Christian, in the first place.
When you are not saved yourself you do not have concern for others salvation.
That's one thing I learned. The other thing I learned is that before we become a Christian (being born again) we do not know the things of God, nor do we understand them.
For all this to make even more sense we have to go way back in the beginning in the garden of Eden. God made man from dust (breathed into it and gave him life) and then took a rib from Adam and made Eve, his wife. God told them they had access to everthing except not to eat (the fruit) from the tree of the "Knowledge of Good and Evil."
God wasn't being a comic meanie, he new if they would eat this they would die, both spiritually and physically. He loved them.
One day Eve was tempted by Satan in the form of a Snake. He asked her if God really said not to eat the fruit. He made her doubt what God had said. Then Eve said God said they would die if they eat it (from tree, the fruit). Then Satan said you will not die (he meant that not an instant death). He also said you will be like God knowing good and evil (he deceived the woman, like he still deceives today, with the promise that we can be our own gods and believe anything we want as long as it's not in the bible or biblically accurate (See "Hermeneutics").
But she did eat and gave it to her husband Adam and he ate the fruit, also.
So their eyes were opened, and they saw they were naked. God in his grace gave them clothes to wear, but he had to kick them out of the Garden, because of their Sin (Because God is sinless and cannot have sin with Him. So they died spiritually that day and would die physically later. Just like us. For 10 out of 10 people die. The ultimate statistic.
Through Adam death and sin entered the world.
You may ask or wonder what sin is. Sin is anything that breaks the 10 commandments. I realized that I was building up God's wrath for me by all my sins adding up, one by one. I realized that I was not a good person.
I always thought I was alright compared to others, that was self-righteousness, in it's essence. Easily, I would look good to someone else to say I am better than them. Or even am much better than someone like Hitler, because compared to others I was good (in my own sight), but of course I was only decieving myself.
God's standards are higher than ours. God's holy Law acted as a mirror to show how Good I was not and a school master to teach me what was God's idea of perfection and good and moral is.
How would you do? Here are the 10 commandments and explanations, there of.
1. You shall have no other gods before me. 2. You shall not make yourself any graven image"(Don't bow down to anything but God) (This can be idols we make in our mind when we make a our own god to worship).
3. "You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain"
(Don't use your lips to dishonor God, such as using God's name as a cuss word or just irreverently. Or to swear an oath to like "I swear to G*d or by G*d, or in G*d's name" God's name is Holy).
4. "Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy"
(6 days work 7th day Rest)
(Don't neglect the things of God)
5. "Honor your Father and your Mother"
(as a child we should obey and respect are parents when it does not go against any of God's laws. And as grown ups we should still make an effort, and show respect for our parents)This one law is the one that has a promise of a long and healthy life.
6. "You shall not kill"
(Do not murder people)(Jesus goes one step further,if you are angry at a person without just cause, or hate filled toward a person it is the same as being a murderer).
7. "You shall not commit adultery"
(Adultery leaves a heart broken)(Jesus takes this one step further than the physical sin, if you lust after a man or woman, have sexual desire for them, then you have committed adultery with them in your heart).
8. "You shall not steal"
(this can include such as stealing time from an employer, doing something else when you were working so taking their time. It doesn't matter how big the thing is you steal, neither. God sees you stealing once as you being a thief).
9. "You shall not lie"
(Even one lie makes you a liar, such as only one rape makes some one a rapist or one murder a murder)
10. "You shall not covet"
(want what others have, want something that is not your own).
So how did you do? If you are like me,you realized that you are not a good person, you are a sinful person in need of a savior and just like me if I would have died in my sins I would have gone to Hell.
For it is appointed once for a man to live and then die and face judgement. All liars, theives, fornicators, homosexuals, adulters and others who live like this will have their part in the "Lake of Fire," which is the second Death. Hell and Satan are very real and lasts forever. It is Hell's Best Kept Secret, and better yet, that there is a savior. He was born of a virgin a little over 2,000 years ago. He lived a sinless life, He was both equally God and Man. He died on a cross.
You know why he died? He didn't die to set an example, to start a religion. He died because of yours and mine sins. He died to take our punishment on the cross. Paying the fine in His Life's blood, for us, so that we could go free on Judgement day nd have eternal life.
For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten ([d]unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.
For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, would get to be saved.
While we were still sinners Christ died for us to pay our fine and debt we could not pay, because he is sinless. All our good deeds works are like a filthy rags, think of a maxi pad with stinky rotting blood.
That's all we could produce on our own. So the Bad news is we sin and our sin leaves us only one option to be in Hell, for God cannot have Sin with Him. But thanks to God for Jesus Christ who paid the ultimate fine His life for us, but he didn't just die, he rose again from the grave, came back to life.
He went to be seated at the right hand of God in Heaven to intercede for all who turn from their sins and forsake them, not have anything to do with them and put their trust in Jesus alone for salvation, just like you would a parachute on a flight.
Trust him like you would wear a parachute prepared to dive at anytime and must save you from a transgression of the law of gravity. Jesus will save you from God's Law of the 10 commandments.So put your trust in the one who is trustworthy, Jesus Christ, for soon our plane jump will happen, either we will die today or Jesus will come back, because He said he would come for His followers and take them back to live with Him.So I urge you today is the day for salvation. Trust in Jesus Christ for salvation and turn from you sins. When you do this you will go from spiritual death to life, your eyes will be opened to know God, you will be a new creation, the old will be gone.
I learned this from Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron.
That very night I put myself on the floor and prayed that God would forgive me of my sins and for salvation.
With repentance (turning from with 180 degrees from sin, going one way turning to another) and trusting in the savior (which starts first then, but goes on until you die physically) and is brought on by God himself. He made me a child of God.
Before we are saved we are storing up our sins and judgement. We are children of wrath and Satan, before salvation. On that day, which I learned now, that with one TV show personality Satan lured me away from God, but with another He brought me to Himself. For no one can go to God unless he is drawn near by Him.
If you are not a Christian I encourage you respond to the Gospel with repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, if you are a Christian I encourage you to be a witness, share your testimony and evangelize.
I have tools to help you if you would like them then request them from me, Smiles Mornington.
If you would like some websites to look out with help with evangelism then go to: www.livingwaters.com www.wayofthemaster.com www.wretchedradio.com
Thank you for reading my testimony. ---*Smiles ;D *---
The Reason I am called "Smiles" is because I have an avatar (a 3D animated representation of me) in a virtual world calledSecond Life where the residents of the virtual world interact with other residents and also contribute by building, scripting and whatever else there is to do in it.