My mother grew up as a Christian attending churches in South America. She prayed to God every morning and Every night for all of us. My father was and had always been an atheist believing that we die and that’s it, there’s no afterlife. He was a good honest and hard working man, we didn’t pray or talk about God in the house. I’ve heard him say religion is for who live in the dark ages and that good intelligent people don’t have a need for a God. While mum believed that no matter how intelligent a person is that faith will carry them through their lowest points in life filling them with hope.
In Australia the only connection to Christianity my non-English speaking mother had was through a letter sent by a nun (which I interpreted) from a compulsory scripture class at my school. That letter was an invitation to all 8 and 9 year old children to take part in their first Holy Communion which was something like a dedication of our purity to Christ. Not wanting to be left out I agreed to go through with it. So mum put her signature on the permission slip.
Although mum wasn’t a Catholic, she thought that any connection with God was better than none. Communion practice began and so did my interest in learning more about Christ. Eventually I got to dress like a bride in a ceremony. Not understanding exactly what it was all about at the time, I really enjoyed being dolled up for the occasion.
Even though I believed the bible story of Jesus’ birth, life and death on the cross as an innocent holy man, I had no idea who he really was. I had no relationship with Christ and prayed to a statue in my room that glowed in the dark of the Virgin Mary.
Years later as an adult, I learned about Grace and Holiness.
I asked God in prayer to lead me to himself. Soon after my sister came to my door inviting me to attend a Pentecostal church with her. Thinking that this could be an answer to my prayer or just a really weird experience I went along. It turns out that both assumptions were correct!
The Pentecostal church was a little building tucked away in the middle of suburbia with only a small number of people in the congregation. Immediately blown away by what I didn’t see due to the absence of statues of Mary holding baby Jesus, no huge cross with a dead crucified Christ on it, no paintings on the walls or decorations to speak of as such, I thought, “what a weird church this is!”. But I also understood that a church should be a house of prayer. Taking my surroundings in I quickly noticed there was a room full of chairs with people sitting in them, a microphone, musical instruments, speakers and a pastor dressed in ordinary clothes holding an open bible as he read passages to the audience straight out of it. He spoke about loving one another like brothers and sisters in the purest sense of the word. Accustomed to rituals that I didn’t understand, this was certainly different but it all made sense. It seemed real.
At one time the pastor read the bible quoting Jesus’ words, “I am the way, the truth and the life and nobody goes to the father except through me.”
As I looked around there were families with happy faces and arms raised offering prayers to God. That started me thinking about what the early church might have been like. During the service prayers were said from the heart that weren’t scripted out of a book. It dawned on me that we had a real God and that we needed to be real with Him. Discovering there’s nothing I could ever hide from God and I started feeling transparent but also felt empowered. I learnt about Salvation and who I am in Christ. Trusting my instinct that God wanted me there, I said a prayer out loud and invited Jesus into my life and into my heart. Immediately there was peace and joy present and a burden was lifted off my shoulders. It was tangible.
Confession was replaced by real repentance of sin. My prayer comes right from the heart and I now believe in the liberating power of forgiveness, repentance and loving others as God loves us with the desire to do God’s will in obedience to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in my daily life. That’s what salvation is to me and the reason Jesus died so that we can be reconciled to God through his sacrifice on the cross.
The Greatest Commandment Mark 12: 28-30
One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognising that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”
Jesus answered, “The foremost is, Hear oh Israel! The Lord our God is the one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, ‘you shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
If you believe, Pray, acknowledge your sins and repent. Ask him to cleanse you and forgive you. Confess to God that you believe in what Jesus did on the cross for you and ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit who will lead you into all truth. Read your bible, get to know God and His word in order to avoid making the wrong choices for your spiritual walk with Christ.
If you’d like to know more about Jesus, watch a full movie here on the Life of Jesus from the book of John as written in the Bible.
FULL MOVIE – Gospel of John – The life of Jesus.