Saturday, September 12

33 Years Ago

Thirty three years ago, I met the Savior!
But my story started the summer before September 12th, 1976.
 During the summer before we moved back to Tennessee, we came home for a visit.  My Aunt Bob, Uncle Lige and Aunt Bonnie were attending Swan Pond Baptist Church.  While we were home, Debbie and I went to church with them.  That in itself wasn't unusual, as we usually did this when we were here.  The last time we had been home, they were attending the Harriman Baptist Tabernacle. Since then they had changed churches.

The service we attended that summer Sunday was different than any I had attended before.  There was a lot of singing and shouting and testifying.  And during the service, they kept talking about how you needed to be saved.  This was all new to me.  I remember thinking that these people were crazy, and I couldn't wait to get away from them.  We finished our vacation, and returned to California.

Even though I got away from "those crazy people", I couldn't get away from the things that I had heard and felt.  I couldn't get it out of my mind.  I would go to sleep thinking about it and wake up thinking about it.  Debbie had a little black and white tv set with rabbit ears.  I used to turn it on and flip through the channels adjusting the rabbit ears, looking for the shows with preaching.  I would read my Bible, but did not know where to look.  I was trying to find out what it meant to be "saved". 

Night after night, I would find those shows and listen, trying to find out how I could be "saved".  Out of all those shows, I never heard a clear cut presentation of the gospel.  I knew I was a sinner and that I needed God to "save" me, but I did not know how to get Him to do that.  I could not sleep for worrying about something happening and me not being "saved".  I did not understand it then, but I was under conviction. God was dealing with my heart.

One night, out of desperation, I cried out to God and asked Him to "save me".  I told Him that I didn't know what all that meant, but I knew I needed Him, and without Him, I would die and go to Hell for all the bad things I had done.  I told Him that as soon as we moved back to Tennessee, I would go to church and find the answers.  After that night, I was able to sleep and was no longer afraid. 

We left California to move back to Tennessee on my fifteenth birthday, September 5th, 1976.  On Sunday Morning, September 12th, I went to church with Bonnie, Bob and Lige.  On Sunday night, we had a service similar to the one the summer before.  This time, I wasn't afraid.  Bro. Wayne Burnette gave the invitation, and said that if you knew you needed to be "saved", you should come to the altar and someone would meet you there and show you how.

I went forward that night, and Bro. John McCormick took God's Word and explained to me why I needed to be saved and what I needed to do.  He told me if I knew I was guilty and was sorry for my sins, that I needed to tell God and ask Him to forgive me and save my soul.  I knew that I had asked Him before, but now, understanding what God's Word said, I asked Him again.  That night, I confessed to the church that God had saved me.

I know that God saved me thirty three years ago.  Whether it was that night in California or the night in Tennessee, I have no doubt that He forgave me!  He gave me His sweet peace.  The Bible says "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

I am so thankful that God saw fit to trouble my soul and show me that I needed Him!  Praise His Holy Name!  I have tried to do what He would have me to do and live for Him.  I know that I have failed Him too many times to count.  I'm sure I will fail Him again, however unintentional.  But He has never, ever failed me!  He has walked by my side all these years, blessed me, gave me His mercy and grace and taken care of me. 
I would be lying to you if I said this road had been easy.  It hasn't.  There have been many, many rough times.  Times when I did not know how I would make it through, times when I could not see the way, times when it was nearly impossible to catch my breath.  But He has been with me, "for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee"

What about you?

 Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior?

The Bible says "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23)  We are all sinners and there is nothing we can do in ourselves to pay for that sin.

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23) God has offered us a gift, a free gift.  We can have eternal life through Jesus!  Without Him, we cannot pay the price and we face an eternity in Hell.

"But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)  We can have that great love gift, because He died in our place.  He took our punishment.

 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10:9) We just have to realize we are sinners, believe on Him, accept what He has done for us with a repentant (sorry) heart and we can be saved.

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13)

God loves you just as much as He loved me, or anyone else.  My prayer is that if you don't know Him, God will trouble your heart and bring you to that place of repentance, so you too will have that "friend that sticketh closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24)


Tammy said...

Hello Teresa, This is Tammy(Burnette) Leffew. I just had to write you when i read this. It was such a blessing. I remember the wonderful services at Swan pond. I will never forget them. I wished all of our young people today could sit in services like that.Our Lord has not changed,but sometimes we forget that!!

Yours in Christ,
Tammy Leffew

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthclay to you !!! This was a blessing to reacl & even more so knowing your parents got into church thru the prayers if the family - what a blessing to my heart ! I so needed this today - Kim

Teresa Buck said...

Thank you for sharing your testimony. Your faith is evident in the words that you write. May God continue to surround you and your family with His love.

Teresa said...

Tammy, I'm so glad you commented. That time at Swan Pond and with the youth choir was a special time in my life. We were in many wonderful services. I agree with you about our young people, and the fact that our Lord hasn't changed.

Kim & Teresa, thank you for your kind comments. I hoped that it would be a blessing to someone. It was a blessing to me just to write it out.

Gayle said...

No man goes to the Father except thruogh Jesus Christ.

Gayle said...

You are truly a blessing to those of us who know where our help comes from. I think the world is in the mess we're in now because we've turned our backs on God. Gayle

Anonymous said...

Mammy when i saw some of the Bible verse's they reminded me my Awana verse's.


Teresa said...

I'm glad your read my post Kyra and that you recognized the verses. I'm so glad you are memorizing them. I love you.

Anonymous said...

thank you mammy i love you.