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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the
mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Let me first
give you some background of when I was growing up. My parents did not go to church, so my only exposure was from the families
of my neighborhood friends. My sisters and I were invited to go to
church with them as we were growing up. I went quite often and even won a pin that
had a mustard seed in it for having perfect attendance in Sunday school for 1
year. I still have that pin today. I like to think of that mustard seed
as to represent the seeds of God's Word that was sown in my heart for a love for
At nine years of
age, my brother was born, and my Mother felt the need to have all four of her children baptized, which she did in a church
not far from us. I continued going to these various churches as I grew up.
When I met Steve as a high school senior and started dating him, he took me
to the church that his family went to, a Lutheran church. I attended there and
even went through classes to become a member of that church. Then Steve
& I married and went to California where he was stationed in the Navy. We
started a family, and when he got out of the Navy, we resided back in Ohio. For a
while we attended this church again and even had Angie baptized there
as an infant.
about Heaven, and whether I would go there when I died, I thought that I would. I thought that going to Heaven was like seeing your
life on a set of balances--if the good outweighed the bad, then I would be
allowed to enter into God's Heaven. I was baptized as a child and thought that made
everything OK, too. And I thought at that time that I was a pretty
good person and would surely be ushered into Heaven at that time of my life.
In 1972, Steve
& I bought a house in a new subdivision of town. In our new neighborhood, I met a lady there, Natalie was her name, who
seemed very much different from myself. I could not put my finger on it, but
I knew there was something different about her. Well, in those younger
days, we would have parties at different new neighbor's houses, just
getting to know one another better. I noticed that Natalie never drank anything
but soft drinks, and I never heard a swear word come out of her mouth. Once again
there was that difference between Natalie and me, but I still didn't
know what it was. She had told me that she went to a Baptist church in Urbana, but
I had gone to church also growing up and some in the Lutheran church even after
Angie and David were born. But still I knew there was a difference between
Natalie and me.
summer of 1974, when Angie and David were 4 and 2 years old, Natalie had invited them to go up to her church every day for a
week for vacation Bible school. This was something that was held every
year during the summer, and I remembered as a child going to VBS (vacation
Bible school) and knew my children would enjoy it as I did years ago. Then on
the Sunday following the week of VBS, I was invited to attend the church for
a program for the children. I went with Natalie and another neighbor, Pam, whose
daughter also attended
VBS that week. In thinking
back on that day, which I will never forget, I can remember Pastor
Kaffenbarger, Pastor of Grace Baptist Church, speaking about how you must be saved to
be able to go to Heaven. Well, I listened to all that he had to say; and
when the service was nearly over, they had everyone bow their heads. The Pastor asked
if there was anyone there who wanted to be saved. Well, I was confused, and
turned to Pam saying, "Does he mean that we have been baptized... have taken communion... or was a member of a church?" Since she was a
Methodist, I thought she was a Christian as well, but she was not and
didn't know any more than I did at the time. So I dismissed it for the moment, but
remember in my heart how funny I had felt, but did not know why.
On the way home,
I told Natalie how strange I was feeling inside and asked her about what the pastor was preaching about. She explained to me
how that Jesus had died on the cross to pay the penalty for my
sins, that he rose from the dead, and is alive today. And that if I would take him as
personal Savior, I would be able to go to Heaven. I told her that I had always
believed in God and Jesus from a little child. But that was not the belief that she
was talking about. The belief that I had was only mental assent that yes, Jesus did
exist. You see, I had always thought that I would
go to Heaven. But the thing I didn't realize was that all of the good things I had done in my lifetime had
to do with me going to heaven or not. And being a member of a church, being
baptized, giving money to the church--none of these things had anything to
do with me going to Heaven, either. You see, I found out that it was my
sin that was going to keep me out of Heaven, and that I
could do nothing that could change that. I had come to the place in my life of knowing for the
first that I was not going to Heaven after all. And
the thought of spending an eternity in Hell scared me to death. I believe there must be millions of
people in the world who are now thinking the same as I did for years, trusting in
what they have done in their lives to merit them an eternal life in Heaven.
How was I going
to get to Heaven then? She again explained to me that the payment for my sins was already taken care of nearly 2,000 years ago when
Jesus died on the cross. Only Jesus, who was the perfect Son of God, could pay
for our sins and He did so with such GREAT LOVE!!
He offers salvation to all of us as a free gift. But a gift is not yours until you accept it for yourself. It is
like Christmas. There are presents under the tree with your name on it; but until you take
one and open it for yourself, it does not become yours. That is the same way with
God's gift. It becomes yours when you realize that you are a sinner and that
your sin separates you from God and Heaven. For the first time in my life,
I realized that, and prayed and told Jesus that yes, I did realize that I was a sinner,
and that I believed that He paid the penalty (which was death and Hell), for my sin.
And that I had accepted His payment and wanted Him to be my
personal Savior. That was the day I became a Christian and knew for sure that I was going to
Heaven. The Bible tells us that "If any man be in Christ, he is a new
creation. Old things pass away, behold all things are become new" II Corinthians 5:17.
August 25, 1974, I became a NEW person!! Steve then saw a
different wife, a new person, like Natalie. Now
, I finally knew what the difference between us was. It was JESUS!!!
And it wasn't long before Steve, too, accepted God's free gift of salvation in January,
If you don't
have this special relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, then I would like to invite you to accept God's free gift of salvation,
too!! I only know that I was blinded to the truths in God's Word for years.
But now I have been set free and on my way to Heaven. ,
God's gift of love to ALL!!!
that the Father giveth me shall come to me;
and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
Won't you please
go to the "FREE GIFT" page and learn how you, too,
can accept the most wonderful gift in the world.
God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have
Click here for your FREE GIFT
playing: "One Moment in Time"
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