‘Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. ‘ John 3:3 https://www.bible.com/bible/1/JHN.3.3
As I mentioned in the previous entry my encounter with Jesus began at a young age. I was 8 years old when I was saved. Week after week I sat there in that big church as watching people go down the aisle answering the pastor’s invitation to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior and be baptized. Strangely I could feel the nudging of the Holy Spirit on my tiny heart to go forward. But I kept ignoring it. I had a knowledge of God, I knew who Jesus was because of my upbringing. I was raised in the church because of the devotion and obedience of my mother. One Sunday, in March of 1992 I was overcome by the Holy Spirit almost as if He lifted me out of my seat and threw me down the aisle. I felt as if God said, “daughter you’re going to need to the peace that I give for what you are about to experience in the coming months.” I didn’t know that’s what He said at the time but looking back over the events that came after my salvation it makes sense. That day I walked down that aisle, my mother was nowhere near me. I was sitting next to complete strangers. No one coached me, no one pushed me. I just answered the call. I met the pastor at the end of the aisle and he asked, “Do you believe Jesus Christ died for your sins?” I said, “yes.” “Would you like to be baptized today?” I said Yes. BEST DECISION EVER!!! After I was baptized that day, I went home so excited. I felt like a new person. I didn’t even want to take a shower because I was afraid I would wash off this feeling warmth and love. I told my father what happened at church and he was happy for me, but he made me take a shower. I was so sad. I cried and cried but my mother comforted me and assured me that the Lord would never leave me.
As the months passed, my father grew sick and in and out of the hospital. We prayed and prayed for his healing. However, in June 1992 he passed away. When my mom told me and my brothers the news, the peace that only God gives He gave to me. I did not cry right away, I just accepted it. When my earthly father left, my heavenly father stepped in. That began my walk with the Lord. In the fall of the same year, my mom took me and my brothers on a weekend church retreat at a lake. The campgrounds were beautiful and so peaceful. There was even a little white church with a bell where we had evening service. One of the biggest impressions from that weekend was that we had “rapture drill” where the pastor told us when we heard the bells ring head to church because once the doors closed we would “miss the rapture.” After I saw that movie I mentioned previously called A Distant Thunder, there was no way I was going to be left behind. I was listening for those bells and I was ready to go.
Early one evening on the retreat I was playing outside with my 3-year-old niece at the time when I heard the church bells. I grabbed her hand and we ran as fast as we could toward the church. The church also happened to be at the top of a hill. None the less, I was determined to get us there before the doors closed. As soon as I got to the doors, they were open and I could see inside that we were about to have church service so I took my seat. Again, I had no idea where my mother was but I was so glad I made it! Hallejuah! As service went on you could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit all around. As the pastor delivered his message, the Holy Spirit moved upon people and caused them to leave their seats and run to the back of the church where they praised God and started speaking in tongues. As an 8-year-old girl, I had no idea what was happening. I looked to my left and saw people leaving to go shout and praise. Looked to the right and saw the same. I looked straight ahead then bam! I was hit. Baptized by the Holy Spirit and given the gift of tongues. A true Pentecost moment. The church I attended at that time was a nondenominational church. No one taught me or asked me if I would like the gift. I just received it. Many children received that gift that day. Before I lose my Baptist readers. I love you all. I attended a very prominent southern baptist church for 7 years as an adult. I have lots of brothers and sisters that are Baptists that have no idea that I have this gift because I do not practice my gift out of order. I only use it for personal edification and fellowship with God. If I should come across an interpreter one day that would be awesome but until then it’s just me and God. After that event, I just felt a renewed peace. Especially, in the aftermath of losing a parent. People were getting baptized in the lake. It was just a remarkable experience that left a great impression on my life.
Now between 8 and 22 years of age, there were times of rebellion and lack of discipleship. However, I never gave up praying and asking for forgiveness. When I was 22, destitute, and on the brink of homelessness, I found myself in a closet rededicating my life to Christ, and the next 13 years were quite a journey. I found myself on the mission fields in Central America and the Caribbean. I became more grounded in the word of God. I did street evangelism, wrote Christian drama sketches, landed a career, got married, had two kids and I want to continue to serve. I say all this to say that this is my born-again testimony. In reference to the scripture above, you must be born again to enter the kingdom of God. You will not see New Jerusalem unless you are born again of the Spirit by faith in Jesus Christ and the complete work He did on the cross for our sins.
‘But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”’ Revelation 21:8 https://www.bible.com/bible/114/REV.21.8
God’s city New Jerusalem is where Jesus will rule and reign and the presence of God will radiate and penetrate the whole city so that there is no darkness and anyone not written in the Lamb’s book of life can enter. It is a Holy place. So I must ask, are you saved? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Is your name written in the Lamb’s book of life? If not, what are you waiting for? Today is the day of salvation. Seek Jesus while He can be found. Don’t let the doors of the church close on you.