Jan 9, 2013

10 years

I'm a week or so late but "Happy New Year!" (^_^)

These past few weeks had our family quite busy.  Maryanna had her 8th birthday on the 23, Masey and I celebrated our 10th anniversary, then all that goes on with Christmas (especially since it's celebrated over the course of 3 days up here), and New Years.

Maryanna had a great time when we finally had her birthday party (on the 27th).  She enjoyed the presents, her birthday meal, and getting to have the other missionary family over.  She especially loved getting her "Birthday Box" from her Aunt Mena.

Yep, I was once skinnier and smooth faced

Masey and I had a wonderful time in town as we had a meal (all by ourselves!) and got to look around town some.  It's hard to believe that we've been married for ten years, but I gotta admit that I've had a great 10 years!  I not only count Masey as a wonderful wife and mommy, but as my best friend that I have on earth.  I wouldn't trade her for anything! (Not just cause she knows too many embarrassing things and the hush money would be unaffordable, but also because I love her! ^_^)

The last half of December is usually a blur of things to do, things to remember to do, or trying to remember something that we are sure we forgot to do.

Also today (Jan 9) is 10 years since I got saved.  Like with my marriage, it feels like only yesterday it happened, but so much has occurred between now and then.  I remember how the Lord would convict my heart of sin, yet I would resist Him, not willing to admit that I was a sinner in need of a Saviour.  Instead I would try to do better and be better, deceiving myself into thinking that things would be alright.

The first time I ever remember hearing the Gospel was in the Fall of 1999 in my hometown of Corinth, MS.  I remember God convicting me then about sin, yet I chose to reject Him and His Son, choosing instead to try my best to be a good enough person to earn God's favor and blessing.

On Wednesday Jan 8, 2003, I remember calling into work cause I was "sick" (more like love-sick) and I went to church with my beautiful bride.  We had only been married a couple weeks and I was very busy between work and college, so I was looking forward to spending the extra time with her.  I had no idea that God was going to deal with me about my sinfulness that night.

The pastor of the church we went to was out of town on that evening and an older, godly man preached a great message from 1 Corinthians 15 about being settled in God.  I can still recall the passing comment he made from Psalms 40 about the pit of sin and how nobody can lift their self out of it, that only God can, and how that is a picture of salvation.

I may not be able to remember what clothes I worse yesterday, but I still remember God working in my heart when the preacher spoke, "If you don't remember God lifting you up out of that pit of sin, you should be concerned about your soul."

I had been in a spiritual turmoil for a while, not sure what to do, where to go, or who to talk with.  Some days I thought things were OK between me and God, at other times I felt crushed under a burden I couldn't move.  I prayed at church that night, went home with my new bride, but the troubled feeling didn't go away.

As the night rolled on, Masey didn't know what to do to help me and she eventually went on to bed.  I was trying to find something to soothe my pricked conscious so I read my Bible some and listened to a preaching tape.

The time continued on and it was about 12:30 on the morning of Jan 9 that I woke Masey to tell her I was lost and needed to get saved.  I no longer trusted in my good works, or my own deception to make me right in God's sight.  (One of the biggest things I faced was that I kept telling folks I was saved that I had started believing my lie.  AND I was too proud to admit that I was such a bad sinner that I needed to get saved.)  I was now convinced that the only way I could have a right relationship with God and ever get to go to Heaven was through salvation in Jesus Christ.  I guess you could say that my pride was cast down, as was my vain logic and thoughts, and I finally, truly, believed the what the Bible says.

As I knelt on my bed I remember praying to God, confessing that I was a sinner, that I couldn't save myself, and by faith turning from my works and other things that I hoped might save me to the One who would save me, Jesus Christ.

Looking back I can see how God had been convicting my heart for a long time, yet I kept rejecting Him and not letting His Holy Spirit work on my heart, I must praise God for not giving up on convicting me.  I think of the song Must I Go, and Empty Handed? when I think back to those days in my life.  One verse in particular says "O, the years in sinning wasted, could I but recall them now, I would give them to the Saviour, to His will I'd humbly bow."

I didn't grow up in church, but in the time that I had been in church before my salvation I had learned the verses that are commonly used when dealing with the lost.  I knew about Romans 3:10 "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" and Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  But somewhere along the way I didn't acknowledge some of the verses as applying to me.  Verses like Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."  How could a person that actually does believe the Bible be blind to those verses?  I guess I could say that not only was Jan 9 the day I got saved, but it was also the day that I became a Bible believer.

After 10 years of trying to walk with God and serve Him, I'm still learning to walk right, still wanting to grow more, still hoping to serve God better.  I've never been sinless, and after having had my sins forgiven, sadly I do still sin and struggle with things.  BUT I'm so glad that God is faithful, even when I'm not.