Randy's Testimony of True Salvation
When I was a child, I loved to go to church. My parents made sure us kids were there every time the doors were open. I mean, we were about as much “churchy” as Noah was “arky”. At an early age, I developed a real love for music, particularly hymns and Southern Gospel. When I got old enough I was put on the roster as a church song leader. I got into, as well as put together several gospel groups, quartets, and choirs. I mean I loved to bless others with good singing. But there was one BIG problem with all these things; I was 34 before I realized I wasn’t even saved. I was water baptized a teenager, took communion every week, and attended worship services regularly. If there was a poster child for religious duty, I could have easily been chosen. All the things I did paled in comparison to a true relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I had a form of godliness and holiness, but denied the very power that could truly transform my life.
In May of 1997, I married a godly lady from Knoxville, Tennessee. Jo Ann, when she met me, knew that we were destined to spend our life together. But Jo Ann Knew there was something lacking in my life, as did many of her friends, and even some of her family. She had her doubts as to whether I was really saved, but she didn’t tell me this, she just began to pray, as did many of her friends she went to church with. It worked, because the Lord began to bring a great deal of conviction in my life. I began to question, “Is what I possess in Christ real? What about my religious upbringing, was I taught the right things to lead me to a saving knowledge of Christ?” I knew these kinds of questions could draw a lot of criticism from my immediate family. The church I was raised in were an exclusive religious group, and believed their doctrine is the only valid one in the church world. To go outside their belief system could mean eternal damnation. But I knew there had to be more. Jo Ann and her friends were right, there was more, and God was about to open my eyes to the more that I lacked.
Jo Ann has since gone home to be with the Lord. She passed away from a brain tumor back in 2006. I am remarried to another very special lady, whose name is Rena. I'm thankful God gave me Rena because she has been a lot of comfort and joy that brings much needed peace and solace to my life. Anyway, at the time shortly after Jo Ann and I were married, we were traveling with a gospel group and they began praying for me because they sensed the same thing about me that Jo Ann did. To make a long story short, we were singing at a church in Hickory, North Carolina. The Lord had been dealing with me about a week prior to this singing engagement. I remember like it was yesterday; October 19, 1997; the day my life was changed forever.
On that night as we were singing, Dale, the manager of the group began to testify about the time he had found true salvation. Something in his testimony brought the conviction I was feeling to a head, and I knew something in my life had to give. Dale said, like me, that he was doing all the right things, involved in this, and involved in that, but there was something missing. He said no one could tell him what it was. He said he received a visit from a man that gave him the answers he needed, and also the answers I needed that night in Hickory.
He said Jesus says in His Word, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father except through me.” I knew I had been trusting in my religious duty, and following the right religious formula, so I thought. The man then quoted from Ephesians chapter two, verses eight and nine. The verses just simply state that we can’t earn our salvation. We don’t deserve salvation, but God offers it to us freely. A person receives it by releasing their faith in God’s Word. God’s Word says that salvation is available for whosoever will, may come. As we release our faith in that promise, the grace of God grants us peace in our hearts, so that there are no doubts that we now belong to Christ. We are then sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day we see our Lord face to face. The Holy Spirit is what leads us to Christ, and then leads us into God’s truth after salvation. The Holy Spirit was what broght conviction to my life. The Holy Spirit always points to Jesus, and Jesus always points to God the Father.
This man that visited Dale then went to another passage in Romans 10, verse 10 that says if we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the , WE SHALL BE SAVED! I thought to myself, “Could it be that simple?” As we began our next song, I began to weep, and ended up in the altar. As I repented of my sins, and began to confess that Jesus is Lord, and I give my life and heart to Him, the peace of God that passes all understanding flooded my soul. At the point that I got up from that altar, I felt cleaner inside than I had ever felt before. I knew that God had forgiven all my sins.
Someone may be thinking in their mind right now: “You don’t know what I’ve done! God can’t forgive someone like me!” Or the definition of who you are may be summed up in your performance or religious duty, like mine was. The truth is that God can, and will save your soul. A person has to be willing to yield one's self to Him. One can never be good enough to earn salvation. None of us can. It takes the power of Christ that is greater than anything we could ever hope to do to “curry” God’s favor. Jesus Christ will transform your life. He will take you from the kingdom of darkness that you’re in now, to the kingdom of light. You may or may not go to church, but my question to you is, “Do you know Jesus?” You may be a great parent, great son or daughter, and even a great civic leader, but my question to you is, “Do you know Jesus?” If Jesus has not transformed your life, and you’ve not yielded to His control. You are lost, and separated from God.
God wants that separation to be mended, and the only way to have it mended is through the cross of Christ, and the of the Lamb. Jesus died so humankind wouldn’t have to die lost. Hell is a real, literal place, but Jesus is humanity's answer to avoid it. Coming to Christ doesn’t automatically make someone perfect, but it does open one's eyes to the realization of the truth of God, which is what helps a new believer in Christ walk in freedom. When someone comes to Christ, He will begin a new work in that person. He will teaches us to think and act as He does. The Christian life does not guarantee a life of ease and luxury, but it is a rewarding journey that will end in being able to live with Christ forever. If this testimony has stirred conviction in someone's heart and they want to give their heart and life to God, pray this prayer from the heart:
“Lord Jesus, I need you. I realize that I am a sinner, and I need my sins forgiven. I confess that Jesus is Lord, and believe that He died, was buried, and rose again just like it says in the Bible. I want to give my life to you right now. Please change me, use me, and control my life. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN!”
NOW, WELCOME TO THE FAMILY OF GOD!