You will enjoy and be edified by listening to these grace testimonies on video (38 min.) from the YouTube channel of gracebcct (Pastor Rodney Beaulieu):
I was saved by faith in Christ back when I was 12 years old. (I am now 36 and my wife is 28). My parents had been attending a gardening class in the mountains of Colorado (9,000 foot elevation) and the master gardener invited them out to see his operation one day. So, we all climbed in the family vehicle and took a drive through the lovely summer Colorado countryside, eventually arriving at his garden. He had a roadside stand selling vegetables and we stopped to take a look. My parents were both raised to be non-practicing Catholics (and we were raised without God being an issue in our home). Well, after a walk around we found out that he and his wife were holding a vacation Bible school the next week, and my parents were only too happy to off-load the three kids (I am the oldest with two younger sisters) to free day care for a week! So, off we went to VBS; and I came home being the first one saved in the family. My sisters and then parents quickly followed. I remember the first moment that I believed. I was sitting at a long wooden table and had been learning about King David via flannel board. Bryce and Patricia -- my pastor and his wife -- had been tying Old Testament stories into the life of Christ for several days. The sun was beaming brightly through the windows and the white walls of the room were aglow. I saw the validity of the prophecies and how the Bible was the truth due to its intricacies and accuracy. Once that was accomplished, then I knew that whatever it said must be true and that Christ was the "lynchpin," so to speak, holding all of it together. It was then that I knew that our Lord Jesus Christ was necessary to live a contented and reconciled life. Yes, as a 12-year-old, I guess I was maybe a little mature. :) (What can I say? My dad was an engineer. Ha, ha, ha, ha.)
Without getting too involved at this time, my father was very abusive to us both physically and emotionally. It was 90% directed at my mother and myself; and while my younger sisters avoided most of the physical punishment, they still had to endure the emotional anguish of watching it (or hearing it) happen. Our new found faith was not capable of instantly righting those wrongs. (I wrongly assumed that my Christian faith would solve all of my problems!) Dad continued on in his anger and malice toward us, even after his belief; and I almost gave up on God shortly after believing myself. After a particularly horrific encounter where my father was physically abusing my mother and I tried to intervene, receiving his terrifying and painful wrath in the process, I took a walk down our rural dirt road, all alone. I raised my fists and yelled at God, who did not deliver me from my own most recent disaster; and I swore to never believe in Him again. Wow. I was overtaken with a sick feeling, racking my body with nausea; and I fell to the ground. I knew then how bad it could be, how horrible I could feel without God in my life. I immediately apologized profusely. Eventually, the physical feelings departed from me; and I learned a very valuable lesson that day. I haven't duplicated that mistake. I usually don't learn from mistakes the first time (something that improves with age), but I sure did that day.
I was saved as an Acts 2 dispensationalist (although I wasn't aware of it then). After a few months of faith in Christ and attending Sunday school with Pat and Bryce, my family was shopping at a large grocery in Denver. At this age, I was old enough to be trusted with part of the list; and we would split into threes: my mother and my sisters in one group, my father, and then myself, as we searched for the items on the list. Well, surprise; when, as I walked through the store, there was a transient, walking up and down the aisles, yelling, over and over, " ACTS 2:38! ACTS 2:38! ACTS 2:38!" Another "wow" moment: here is a man yelling out scriptures! Of course, I was burning with a desire to rush home and check that Acts 2:38 out. I had a little Bible and I repeated that verse reference dozens of times on the long car ride home. Once back in my room, which couldn't come fast enough, I looked it up. I was very disappointed when it said clearly, and in no uncertain terms, that I needed to be BAPTIZED, to be saved. Oh, how my heart was crushed and confused. I had not been baptized. Was I unsaved? I had to ask my pastor.
Upon asking him, he explained that I did not need to be baptized; and then he proceeded to try to explain it away with flawed human interpretation and Greek language skills he was still developing. All of this went right over my 12-year-old head, of course. Then, a great blessing occurred. Bryce decided he was going to find out the real reason why he didn't believe in water baptism. Through a fellow pastor friend of his, Bryce read and studied, "Things That Differ," by CR Stam, as well as, "A Dispensational Theology," by CF Baker. Before long, his reading list grew and our entire assembly was soon being taught through the right division of the Scriptures. So, I am always thankful for that transient, for that verse, and for my questioning mind (and often-demonstrated big mouth!).
Spiritual happiness ended soon thereafter as Bryce and Pat decided when I was 14 to retire and move to Oregon. They moved; we stayed. My parents took us to a Baptist church and then more confusion reigned. Regardless, my parents soon made a decision to move to Oregon to be near Pat and Bryce; and we did so when I had just turned 16. When we first arrived in Oregon, we attended the First Baptist Church in town before my folks made an effort to get us back to going to home Bible study. You know, home study didn't have singing, youth group, or Sunday school; and Bryce was supposed to be retired anyhow; but it wasn't long before we were back with our familiar BLESSED GRACE message; and I relished the simplicity, accurate and easy assimilation of right division.
I'll try to quickly recap my life since then (since I have written a novel up to this point). I met a girl and we married too young. I did it for duty, honor, and to prove to my abusive father that I would make a better husband than he could. She was my first real love; and I just thought that when you fell in love, it always meant marriage and happily ever after. (I'm sure, in retrospect, that hormones had to do with it as well.) She married me to escape her parents' home and because she was impulsive. She was infatuated with me and with my 'all-grown-up' life. I really believed that we could not ever fail. After many years of married life, we tragically got divorced. I don't want to get too far into that, since the truth is, that I still don't really understand everything about that time. All that I know now is that she wasn't ever really ready to be married to a man who expected her to act as a Biblical woman (although she is a believer, I am certain of that); and I was more focused on being a good husband for the example and the Biblical leadership role than to being understanding of her shortcomings or perceived shortcomings (and accepting of my own shortcomings as well!). She wanted more freedom; I wanted a closer image, publicly. She needed space and I guess I was suffocating her. She seemed rarely happy and I always wished to thrill her. She contended that I made her grow up too fast and that she wasn't allowed to be wild and free. Regardless, she filed the paperwork; and shortly thereafter, I got an announcement in the mail that the marriage was dissolved. When I opened it in the parking lot of the post office (I had a PO box), I once again fell to the ground, literally sobbing. Yes, in public, which may seem quite pathetic to some. I tried to reconcile with her for many, many days, weeks, and months. She was determined to continue her newly-changed life; and I eventually had to move on, realizing that I would never provide her the freedom she south to party with friends, etc., and that I could never be her ideal husband. This was crushing to me. My faith, though salvation was assured and I knew that, was tested and tried. (Not a faith in God, which stayed resolute: A faith that God would still find me useful to a world that needed his message. I struggled with Christian leadership and public witness for quite a while because of these times and emotions.)
Needless to say, I remarried in 2010. Sandra is a Christian woman, who is growing in her knowledge of the word and her recognition of the grace message (which is truly a wonderful blessing!). She was raised a Lutheran and Presbyterian and attended a Baptist church for a few months as well. :) Crazy mixed-up spirituality! She has been a joy, a pleasure, a supporter, and my best friend. If I only would have waited... However, she is incredibly understanding and supportive. I do not doubt that she is the perfect match for myself.
My father and mother are still alive and together. He has backed off his physical abuse, thanks to many years in the Word. He still has anger management problems, but we work with that. One of my sisters is an RN, while the other lives in New Mexico. She claims to have put God on the back burner. I try to reach out to her, but she is not interested at this time; so I try to give a good example of living a Godly lifestyle and keep providing spirituality.
I am now a fine art photographer (www.fineartlens.com) after being laid off of my IT job last summer (after working at the same employer for over 7 years and in technology for 20 years); and Sandra is a doctor of audiology. I guess I should say that I really am focusing on ministering right now and am currently attending the Berean Bible Institute through their distance studies course. Pastor Kern and BBI have been wonderful spiritual companions thus far; and I am immensely pleased with their guidance.
In this area we have significantly-declined church enrollment and essentially no fellowship opportunity with believers who are rightly dividing. Our outreach attempts have been met with a lack of success from a pure physical numbers standpoint. HOWEVER... I have yet to give up hope on putting together a nice-sized body of believers for fellowship, edification and support in our general area. We are unsure of the timing of the rapture (perhaps today!); and until then, we are going to hope to be a light in the darkness and a beacon of hope to wayward mankind and those who search for spiritual guidance.
The ministry here has picked up some in the last 6 months; and our home church (which we affectionately call Grace Brethren Fellowship) has some folks coming on a fairly regular basis, though no doubt gas prices will impact our numbers. All original Oregon coast towns are 27 miles apart (stagecoach stops). A couple of our folks are on a fixed income. (My pastor and his wife while growing up now come to study with us as they are retired and live 60+ miles away.) They currently attend twice a month, but that may be changing to once per month. Sometimes we all go down to their home and do study there. Overall, we are pretty flexible (the joy of home church!). I am the leader of our little assembly and improve at the process all the time, I am sure...praise God!
Langlois, Oregon, USA
JERRY POURCY'S GRACE TESTIMONY
September 30, 2010
I was born and raised Catholic so I was taught that Christ died for our sins, but I was also taught that you had to work for your salvation. You know, if you are good you go to heaven; and if you are bad you go to hell, that kind of stuff.
I went to Catholic School and church; but we were never taught the bible, just Catholic doctrine.
Back in the late seventies, my wife, whose name is Clair, and myself, with a dear friend of mine named Mark, used to go out every Friday night; and we would take turns of where to go eat and what to do. Well, it was my turn; and I looked in the newspaper and saw that there was a movie playing called, “The Late Great Planet Earth.” I thought this was cool! I loved science fiction movies. I thought it sounded like “When Worlds Collide,” or something of that nature.
So we went to see the movie, and it wasn’t a science fiction film. It was about the end times and the Lord Jesus Christ coming back to this earth.
We sat through the whole movie and watched it. After it was over, we got back in the car; and Clair and Mark started talking about the movie. I told them to shut up. I didn’t want to hear about it.
I didn’t sleep well for about three nights in a row.
This movie shook me to my core.
According to the doctrine I was taught, I knew I was going to hell because I knew that I wasn’t a good person, far from it. I seriously started to worry about my salvation. It was all I could think about.
Sometime passed and Mark called me one day and asked what I was doing.
“I’m reading a bible.”
“Reading a bible! Why are you doing that?”
“I just think it’s something you ought to do before you die.”
As with many people back in the seventies, I was doing tons of drugs and alcohol; and it was doing a number on my health; and I started feeling really bad; and I just knew I was going to die. I was worried sick about going to hell.
In the meantime Mark’s father came down with cancer, and soon afterwards he was on his deathbed. When I went to see him one day, I could not look him in the eyes for I knew that I was staring death right in the face.
Then the time came, and Mark called me and said his dad passed away. After I got off of the phone, I cried my eyes out. I did not understand anything about death, and it scared me tremendously.
On the way back home from the funeral, I continued to cry; and I was just in a daze. I was getting really scared. My health was failing me, and I just knew that I would be the next one to die.
I did not know what to do or who to turn to for help.
A few days later, Mark called me up and asked me if I wanted to go to church with him and his cousin. He said the church was right by my house and that they did not have any priests, but they had “Brothers”. I did not know what brothers were, but I knew what priests were.
I told him, “Sure.” I was willing to try anything.
We went to the Sunday service, and I have no clue to what was taught. I was still in a daze.
After the service, the preacher gave an altar call; and Mark, his cousin David, and I all walked the aisle.
When I got to the preacher, I told him that I wanted to be part of God’s family. He gave me a scripture out of Romans 10 and said,
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
And he asked,
“Are you a 'whosoever'?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you believe Christ died for your sins?”
“Then you are saved!”
Then the customary hugs and handshakes afterward began. Problem was, I did not feel saved. I was born and raised Catholic all my life, and here I was at 22 years old someone asking me if I believed Jesus died for my sins which was something I always believed and never doubted it for one minute.
Anyway, I told myself, “I’m going to turn my life around and start serving God.” which I supposed was a good thing; but I still had my doubts about my salvation because my beliefs had not changed from when I was a Catholic.
The following Wednesday, I went to bible study; in fact, I was there whenever the doors were open; and I rarely missed anything. I soon learned that salvation came from putting your trust in Christ and not trusting in yourself. I had always believed that Christ died for my sins, but I was taught to trust in myself (my works) in order to win a place in heaven.
So, as soon as I learned that I needed to trust in Christ, that night I knelt down by my living room couch, with tears streaming down my face; and I asked Jesus Christ to save me.
It is an event that I will never forget.
I don’t remember the date, but I will never forget the event. If I had to guess it would be February of 1980.
I soon realized that I had a purpose in life. All I wanted to do was serve the Lord. Before I was saved, I did not know what the first book in the bible was or the last book or anything in between.
I started working at the church cutting the grass, filling the Coke machine, scrubbing the toilets, and whatever needed to be done; it really did not matter to me: I just wanted to serve the one who paid for my sins.
I could not get enough of the holy scriptures. To this day, studying God's word is my favorite thing to do.
Soon afterwards, the Lord called me into the ministry; and I have been teaching ever since, winning souls to Christ, and teaching his word, rightly divided, from the King James bible.
I did not just get saved; I gave my life to Christ. I realized that I should be dead, buried six foot under in some cold grave somewhere; but yet I am still alive; and the only reason I am alive is to serve the Lord.
Hopefully my testimony touches you; and if you are not saved, I encourage you to trust Christ as your Saviour, believing that he died and paid for your sins at Calvary.
Serve the Lord with all your heart. When it comes time for the judgment seat of Christ, it is the only thing that will matter.
Jerry Pourcy, Louisiana
Hi, I'm Joe Roberts and I recently posted on YouTube my testimony of being saved by God's wonderful grace. Here's the link to view, "My Story of God's Saving Grace.
My understanding of God's word and the wonderful salvation we have through the sacrifice the Lord Jesus Christ offered for us at Calvary, and communicated fully to us through the gospel given to our apostle, Paul, has continued to grow since that time and has led me to share it with others whenever I can.
My website, Soul Rebel Ministries, is the place where my personal experiences with the Lord can be expressed and shared with any who may be interested in hearing more.
Thanks for listening!
JOHN I. COLLINS
TESTIMONY OF JOHN I. COLLINS
Hi, my name is John Collins and I first really understood that I could be saved by putting my faith in Jesus Christ and in him alone when I was a student at Fox Valley Lutheran High School. The principal, Mr. Warnke, was also my Religion teacher, along with his wife who substituted for him when he couldn't be there. He made the gospel plain and clear, that there is nothing we have to add of our own works; that Jesus Christ did it all for us. Realizing that there was nothing I myself had done to earn salvation, I instinctively understood that there was nothing I had to do to keep it and that there was nothing I could do to lose it. Despite my understanding of eternal security in Christ, I continued to attend churches that taught there were things we could do to cause us to “jump out of God's hand” and lose our salvation. Fortunately, my faith in Christ alone remained steadfast anyway.
In 2007, I married my wife Debbie after meeting her at the local Calvary Chapel. As soon as we began dating the year before, she started explaining that in order to be understood intelligently, the Bible must be rightly divided between Israel's program and our Gentile grace program today. Although it was difficult to give up the Calvary Chapel mentality that prophecy is being fulfilled before our eyes today, especially with the return of the State of Israel in 1948, I've come to see that while we live in the “mystery” given to our Apostle Paul for us by Christ, all the prophecy relating to Israel is on hold until our program ends and we're raptured out so that Israel's program can begin again.
I now enjoy attending once a month the service held in a nearby farming community where we're taught the word, rightly divided, by Pastor Ray Keable, who is affiliated with Grace School of the Bible in Bloomingdale, IL. We both enjoy the fellowship with other grace believers and now we bring a handicapped friend along to give him the opportunity to fellowship as well. I'm learning a lot about our special mystery program and all its blessings, and I even purchased the "Big Chart” that's available from Grace School of the Bible.
I've known I was saved since I first trusted Christ back in high school, but understanding the basics of right division helps me understand just why and how I'm saved!
John I. Collins
I come from a Roman Catholic background. When I was about thirteen years old, my mother started studying with the Jehovah's Witnesses. I was home on several occasions and spoke with them also. They convinced me that they were the only group that based their beliefs on the Bible and showed me passages that contradicted Roman Catholic teaching.
As I got older, I became an agnostic, believing that there was a God; but that since he didn't speak to us, we couldn't know him. I started dating a girl in college and as our relationship deepened, she shared her faith in Christ and her hope that I would believe and be saved. I thought it was presumptuous of her to believe she was saved and told her she was no better than I was. She explained salvation and what "born again" meant. I understood, but it seemed too easy, She gave me a book by Hal Lindsey called, "The Late Great Planet Earth." and I eventually trusted Christ for my salvation,
We attended Pentecostal churches, and I began reading the Bible and got involved with ministries trying to reach cults like the Jehovah's Witnesses. Some good friends in one of these ministries introduced me to one of their friends but warned me that he was a "Mid Acts Dispensationalist," and told me some of what he believed. When we met, I asked him why he didn't believe that speaking in tongues and being water baptized were for today. He explained his beliefs to me; and I was surprised that they not only made sense but seemed to be backed up by Scripture. I asked him if people who believed as he did had any books or literature. He gave me a copy of "Things That Differ," by Cornelius Stam. I read that book and came to see the truths of the Mystery and Paul's distinctive message. At that point, I subscribed to the "Berean Searchlight" newsletter and ordered some of the literature they offered which helped me better understand the Bible and dispensationalism.
Union, New Jersey
When I first came across this new way (new to me at least) I
was a fairly new Christian, I'd been brought up in a Christian
environment with most of my immediate family being believers, however as
a teenager I'd gone my own way, eventually returning when I was 21. I
was part of a fellowship that was an off-shoot from Methodism and where
Theological opinion varied from charismatic to more conservative views
and everything in between.
From the start of my Christian walk, I was always reading. I was interested in trying to make sense of things and think even though I was open to other people's views I was often skeptical of some of the things I would hear about. Around this time there was a lot of controversy surrounding something 'new' called the Toronto Blessing. People seemed to be seeking experiences, it never really appealed to me. I remember as a new Christian I was struggling a little with how I felt about various things. The fellowship I was attending had a visiting speaker and I spoke to him about how I was feeling. He asked me if I'd been baptized in the Holy Spirit, in my ignorance I told him that I hadn't. So we went through a procedure that involved the laying on of hands and keep being told to relax and just let whatever manifestation followed to happen. Nothing happened. I just felt confused and probably worse than I had at the start. As I look back this was all leading somewhere for me. I knew of certain manifestations and miraculous things happening in scripture but I always had my doubts as to whether it was happening today. I am an emotional person and sensitive, but when it came to my faith, chasing after experiences to keep me searching after God has never been my thing.
Around 1998 a friend of mine, who was always studying told me about some literature he'd come across that had really had an impact on him. He started to share some of the things with me. The principle of right division (2 Tim 2:15) was alien to me at this time. Suddenly the Bible started making a lot more sense to me; don't misunderstand me, the message of salvation is obviously the main message in the Bible and that is plain to see. But how do we then move on from the rudimentary teachings of the word? New light came to my walk as I looked more into this, the truth that the age we are currently in was revealed to Paul the prisoner, the mystery hidden from men in other ages (Eph 3).
I must say that due to a couple reasons I then went into a kind of denial. Due partly to conflict within and everything that I had previously been taught and partly because of opposition from fellow Christians. So I spent the next few years in denial. BUT once you've seen this you can't 'unsee' it. So around 6 months ago I started making steps towards picking up where I left off. When I first came across this all those years ago the only material available was in booklet form but now with the internet there is plenty of study material online. I love reading the studies by great men like Charles Welch, Stuart Allen, and EW Bullinger. I like to listen to audios as well as I commute via train to my place of work so this gives me some time to do this, I can highly recommend Wayne Stewart of rightdivision.com, he did an excellent 10 part series called the 'ABCs of Right Division'. The Heaven Dwellers' website is good and I recently came across Deborah Collins' blog which is a great resource.
I will keep on with this and pray that God will give me
insight into His word as I pick up the the baton of those great men and
women of God who have gone before us.
I was raised in a Christian home, went to the altar at age ten and thought I was saved. This process would occur several times because I was told I could lose my salvation. Finally, as an adult, I got away from it thinking I couldn't live the Christian life; then I got involved in a charismatic church and they convinced me that my problem was that I "needed the Holy Ghost," so I tried the whole bit: speaking in tongues, etc., but still wasn't happy. Eventually I got tired of always feeling like I had to work for the Lord to be accepted. (I was involved in church activity six nights a week.) So, again, I left and was told I had backslid. One day, about five years ago, I turned on the TV and listened to a teacher named Les Feldick. He explained about rightly dividing Scripture; and for the first time, I heard the simple truth of the gospel, that it wasn't about repenting of my sins, walking an aisle, but simply trusting in the gospel of my salvation (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). So, I gave up on my works and simply trusted the Lord Jesus Christ and what he had done for me. Since then, it's been a great learning process; and I've learned from some great rightly-dividing Bible teachers and have been growing in God's grace.
I praise God for leading me on a journey that has led me to understand what God is doing today. Many years ago, in my first year after graduating from college (in the days of Noah), God led me to desire to know Him. I really wanted to know if God was real so I asked God to give me wisdom to know and understand Him.
That journey has led me closer and closer to Him. He led me through areas that taught me not only about Him, but about various factions that hold the world captive to this very day. That wisdom I asked for did not come instantly. God knew that the web of darkness in which the world is trapped is so vast that it would take time and experience as He brought me out of it. It takes time to to see and hear a little – here and there a little – and to recognize what I was in, and to compare the counterfeit with the real thing.
To make a long story shorter, I really desired to grow in the knowledge of the wisdom of God. It has taken my whole life thus far until the pieces of the grand puzzle have come together in His manifold wisdom which He has revealed unto me and to the church which is his body today. It is indeed like a great mystery that was hidden from me for a long time. Only God can make it understandable via His Holy Spirit. I guess you could call me a seeker of truth. Back at the beginning of my journey, I was not finding it (truth) in orthodox Christendom. There were very many questions and things I saw being done that did not make sense to me; and that is why I cried out to God for answers and His wisdom.
God started me out with at least one foundational belief to hold onto – one which He knew was most important. That belief was that the answers I was seeking were to be found in His word, the Scriptures.
In and around the year 2005, I was introduced to the fictional series of books called, "Left Behind." I became fascinated with the idea of the "Rapture." I found that most of orthodoxy did not believe in this "Rapture," as portrayed in the "Left Behind" book series. This study led me to see some big pieces of the grand picture of things, some that I didn't even know existed. I studied what orthodoxy believes to be true; topics such as Covenant Theology, Replacement Theology, Amillennialism, etc. I found that most around me in life were just not interested in studying about God or seeking truth. I found myself quite alone, at least in my journey of seeking truth. For some unknown reason to me at the time, God had placed into me a desire to share what nuggets of truth I found. I knew that men needed to choose to believe God and his gospel of salvation, the finished work of Christ on the cross. God put the idea in my head to start an internet blog to reach out to the world. Nobody around me desired to hear me talk about these nuggets of truth so I would reach out to strangers. I told myself that if even one person out there was led to salvation because of something they read in my blog, it would be worth it.
The blog I started in 2008 is called, growandknow.blogspot.com. You can still go there and read a sort of documentation of my early studies into the Rapture and other topics the Holy Spirit led me to study. I realized that I myself was not a great writer so I decided I would post articles I found on the internet that I felt led me closer to "Truth."
The first article I posted concerned understanding the Rapture. I was convinced at the time that the pre-Tribulational Rapture was the correct understanding of that topic; but, oh, that was just the beginning of some new and wonderful nuggets I was to uncover! I made many friends when delving into this topic; but as time went on and the more truth I learned, the more I would have to choose between keeping those friends and keeping God's truth! For some reason, my new blog remained in the top 20 of over 2500 Christian blogs for about 3 years.
God led me one day to look into a topic called, "Hyper-Dispensationalism." There were many things in this study that I discovered were great nuggets of truth. First of all, I discovered Paul and how significant his writings were to my journey of seeking truth. I discovered that Paul was used by God to introduce wonderful new revelations of truth for us after Christ Jesus was resurrected and ascended back to God the Father to sit at His right hand in glory. During this journey of discovering truth, I was still mixed up as to what the truth is for us today. I was yet to be introduced to a very important nugget of truth – "right division of God's word."
At this time in my journey, I believed in "Mid Acts" dispensational truth, that the church began when Paul was converted on the road to Damascus; but, I had not yet been taught how to correctly cut what was written for Israel and what is addressed to us Gentiles today. Finally, God led me to understand the truth about who the Rapture is actually for and who it is not for, and when it will occur in God's timeline of events in prophetic scripture. God led me to study Acts and to read what actually happened in that very unique period of time in history and in the Bible. I was shown by God's Holy Spirit that successive new revelations were revealed to Paul. I discovered that he was "sent" as a messenger – an apostle – with a two-fold ministry, with a ministry first sent to the Jews and this we find all the way through the beginning of Acts to the end of Acts. God first gave the Jews an opportunity to recognize their Messiah all through the book of Acts via Paul pleading with them as one of their own, a fellow Jew under the law. At the end of Acts, the Jewish leaders rejected Christ Jesus as their Messiah. Paul pronounced that what the prophet Isaiah spoke of, that they would hear but not hear and see but not see. Now the truth would be sent via the second part of Paul's ministry to the nations.
Israel, in a nutshell, was rejected as God's people. They were divorced by God and temporarily set aside to become a nation of no more significance than any other nation until the time when they will recognize their Messiah in the future plan of God.
I have now been introduced to a great "Mystery." This mystery is unique in the mysteries mentioned in Scripture before it. This "mystery" was completely hid in God – not in Scripture – until the fulness of time when it was revealed to Paul in prison near the end of his life. It is a gospel beyond and unique to the gospel of salvation; yet another very good news for us today concerning the "unsearchable riches of God." You can now join me in my journey at my new blog, appearinglorytimeline.blogspot.com.
May God continue to open your eyes to His wonderful manifold wisdom and truth for us today. Grace and peace and great joy in searching out what is true for you today:
Ephesians 1:18-23: "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, (19) And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, (20) Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, (21) Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: (22) And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, (23) Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."
Your brother in Christ Jesus,
(A friend I met through trading books on a book swapping site sent me her testimony and included the stories of how her grandson and daughter got saved, as well):
"I was very young when I met Jesus. My momma was a smoker and my daddy was a truck driver and always gone. One day when momma needed cigarettes, she sent my little sister and me to the store several blocks from our home. I was 6 and my sister was 4 and we had to cross a railroad crossing which always scared us. A very nice man stopped to see that we got across okay and he asked what we were doing so far from home. I explained and he said he was a preacher at a church close by and asked that we try to visit. I told him about our momma and that she would be mad if she found out we talked to him. He said that was okay, but he would follow us home to be sure we made it safely and then come back sometime and ask her if we could come to his church.
Days went by and I thought he had forgot; then one afternoon, I saw him pull into our drive. We lived next to a tavern and momma spent a lot of time there and I watched Sissy. She was upset that he stopped, but he explained that he was trying to get new people to go to church. I begged her to let us go, and he said he would pick us up and bring us home if she would. Finally, she said yes; it would give her a break from us. So he started to come and get us. It was wonderful! We sang, read stories from the Bible, and I was in love with everything about it.
Momma had a bad habit of cussing and whipping us when she was out of cigarettes or beer (which I thought was soda pop). When daddy came home, they fought all the time and so I was glad to be away from her. Anyway, one Sunday the pastor preached that no matter what, God loved us. He talked of sin and that no matter how bad we were, God forgave us and loved us through Jesus Christ his Son, who was making a home for us; and we would never be afraid again. I wanted that love and to never be afraid of momma again. Before we left that day, they sang, "Softly and Tenderly," and I started crying and knew I would be okay if Jesus loved me like that – all I wanted was to be loved. The preacher said to come to the altar and accept Jesus and we would be loved forever. I felt this feeling in my heart so strong that I went, and cried and cried and told him I wanted the love Jesus had for us and was sorry I made momma mad and wanted to ask for forgiveness. I was 7 years old and when I left that church I felt so good, like walking on air. I will never forget that.
That preacher's name was Louis J. Mustatics. They had a Bible school and I got to do such wonderful things; and by 8 years old, I was singing in the choir and doing solos in front of the people. I was in heaven! No matter how mad momma got, I was happy. When I tried to tell her about Jesus, she told me it was okay for me but she didn't want to hear it. I begged Rev. Mustatics to baptize me, but he wanted me to know what I was doing and made me wait until I was 9; and then it was so wonderful.
Soon daddy bought a house that was far away from the church, and I was afraid I wouldn't get to go there anymore; but Rev. Mustatics would drive all that way to get me. One day my daddy showed him a nasty picture of a woman and my momma cussed him in a drunk stupor. I cried so hard and he softly told me, "Martha, you know what God said," and I told him, no. He said that no matter what my momma and daddy did, he would always love me and so would God. He said I had a beautiful smile and would I do him a favor? He asked me to smile at everyone I saw and even if I couldn't do things yet that would help share God then, if I smiled at everyone I saw, it might help someone and if I helped just one person that I was making God happy. He made me promise I would smile at all I met...and I have kept that promise ever since. You know, sometimes things happen we can't control. Rev. Mustatics and his family moved to Michigan, and it broke my heart. The last thing he said to me was to remember that I was a child of God's and he wouldn't let bad things happen to me without a good reason. I missed that preacher so much and soon momma stopped me from going to church.
Then when I was 12, my daddy got bad sick with a brain tumor that left him blind and paralyzed; and momma was mad at God and me (for believing it would be okay). I got lots of whippings with the switch; and she was so mean; but through it all, God was with me; and he is all that got me through those awful years and times; and I promised him I would never hurt my children that way and asked him to please let me live to be 80 so I could help others – and I believe he will. I have never stopped loving him no matter how awful things got. When I started having epileptic seizures, momma would lock me in a closet and tell me I was bad and the devil had me. No matter how hard I cried and begged God to make my daddy well, things didn't get better; but prayer helped me and I know that without my God I wouldn't have made it. I was truly blessed.
I kept a check on Rev. Mustatics when I got older and was heart broken when he passed in 2005, but I know he is in heaven and singing with God and someday I will see him again; I can't wait!
Well now you know the awful life it was, but through it all I kept my faith that God was with me and that I would be okay; and he was and I am. And you know something? God replaced Rev. Mustatics with a kind pastor and his precious wife Dorothy and she played piano. While I wasn't allowed to go to church anymore, they came to our house from time to time and I loved them so much. Then momma stopped that, but when I had my first baby, Dorothy came to see me and brought me purple violets. We cried and rejoiced to see each other, and from then on, she wrote me letters. Her husband married my husband and me, and she and her daughter were our witnesses. She has never stopped writing and just turned 90 years old. In 2007, we renewed our vows and he did that for us and we had the same witnesses – his wife and daughter. I love them more each day and am very grateful for this family who loves us with the love of God.
We were recently blessed by our first great-grandchild, the daughter of my only grandson and he and his wife Elizabeth – a child of God – are very special to me. He lost his daddy in a shooting when at a grocery store getting things for my daughter – his mother – and a man tried to rob the store with a gun. The owner pulled his gun out and shot but missed the robber and hit his daddy in his forehead. He died an hour later. My daughter raised him alone and he came to me a couple of years ago after church and wanted to know if I thought his dad was in heaven – and if he was, if he got saved would he see his dad there? I truthfully told him yes his dad was in heaven. He asked me to help him be saved so I explained it all to him that he was accepting that Jesus Christ is our Saviour; and with tears flowing, that child asked the Lord to forgive him of all his sins and save him. To this day I cry when I remember this. His faith got him through not only his dad's death but his mom's long bout with colon cancer and then uterine cancer (which is now in complete remission).
Not long ago, I was reading the Left Behind series and gave it to my granddaughters. My daughter's oldest girl, Mandy read it and then she told her mother she needed to read it. They both asked me questions about it and I told them it was all in the Bible and that anyone not saved would be left behind. Mandy told her mom she was saved and that she wanted to see her in heaven someday. My daughter thought about this for a few days and one morning after the girls left for school, she called me just crying her heart out. When I asked her what was wrong, she managed to tell me she didn't want to be left behind and wanted to be with her kids in heaven someday and said, "Mama, help me! Tell me what to do!" So I talked to her and showed her places in the Bible that helped one find Christ. When we hung up, my daughter was happier...and saved! How blessed I am now that I can say my daughter is a Christian.
She tried to attend a church near her house but the people made her feel bad about the clothes she wore and that her children had an Hispanic dad, so she quit; but she holds true to her beliefs about our Saviour.
I am flesh and blood and have my bad days when my husband is suffering or things happen that I can't control; but the Lord has blessed me and still does every day!"
FROM ALCOHOLIC TO ROCK MUSICIAN TO MYSTERY SAINT!
My name is Paul Loughrin (a good Irish name, he he!). I grew up in Appleton, WI, the youngest of four siblings. When I was in fourth grade, I was getting into trouble at public school; so my Catholic parents sent me to St. Pius Catholic School where I attended grades five and six. I remember being not too interested in God at the time until Sister Roderick (I'll never forget her) told me to "get into it" while attending Mass. She inspired me to get into what was going on during the Mass and not just sit there. So I began to do what she advised, and that's probably when I got saved. I believed that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again. I didn't understand the importance of the blood, but I understood that he died for everybody's sins, including mine.
When I was 14 years old in 1980, the Lord called me to be one of his rock musicians. Christian rock was still a relatively new thing at that time and Christian hard rock/heavy metal was unheard of, basically. I really liked the music, but I didn't like the lyrics or the lifestyles of the musicians. I thought, "If only there was a band that mixed that music with Jesus Christ and his gospel, that would be awesome."
That band would be "Stryper," and I first heard them in 1984. There were other pioneer Christian hard rock bands that came before them, but Stryper was tops. They were also heavy metal. Unfortunately, however, around that time, I became a full-blown alcoholic. It didn't take long for me to become one either. I grew up in an insane household -- literally. My mother had schizophrenia; and to ease his pain over that, my dad drank and stayed in his own little world. He communicated with me hardly at all. He was a good provider and stuck with Mom but that was about it. He was only half a dad to me. He wouldn't allow me to grow my hair long and didn't understand me. So, needless to say, I didn't heed the Lord's calling.
After high school, I started attending the University of WI - Menasha. I only lasted a couple of years there and then basically got kicked out due to my drinking. I relocated to Jacksonville, FL, to live with my sister and her husband. Things there did not go well. My sister was an agnostic and her husband wasn't very nice. I worked at a factory for a little while and then decided to join the USAF in 1987.
I went through basic training in San Antonio, TX, and then attended Inventory Management Specialist training in Denver, CO. I remember meeting Christians in basic and tech school, but I was still drinking heavily. I was a functioning alcoholic. I still remember this nice girl who invited me to her church one night while in tech school but I was too hung over to go the next day. I felt really bad about it and never saw her again.
I muddled my way through tech school and then arrived at my first and only duty station in Austin, TX. I remember that when I first arrived there, my roommate's friend asked me if I was a Christian or if I was Catholic. I didn't know the answer so I told him I was Catholic. But the more I thought about it, I realized I was a Christian. My roommate was a Christian as well and we had some good talks about the Lord. Then in early 1988, a Technical Sergeant came to my dorm room one night and shared the gospel with me. Of course I believed, and that's when I "technically" got saved. That's the first time I had heard about the Lord being my personal savior. He invited me to his church the next morning but I didn't go. Drinking was still a priority for me.
In August of 1988, I met my wife. She was a civilian and she was dating another guy who lived in the same dorm as I did. She dumped him for me! She was a pretty, Hispanic woman who was eleven years my senior. I was 22 and she was 33. She also had a 13-year-old daughter from her previous marriage. Since she was a Christian, I decided to marry her. The marriage lasted only four years. Between my drinking and her clubbing, among other issues, it just didn't work. We both had many issues to work on and didn't. Neither of us grew in Christ or as people. We did, however, attend a Southern Baptist Church for a while. For me, it felt so good to get out of the Catholic Church.
After we got divorced, I relocated back up to Wisconsin to be around my other sister and brother. Needless to say, my drinking continued to get worse. I almost lost my job and my apartment when in November of 1994 a miracle happened. I remember going to detox again but this time it was different. The Lord ushered in "surrogate parents" for me while in detox: a male psychologist and a female alcohol counselor. They convinced me to stay a third day in detox and I did. I surrendered everything to the Lord that day. That day was November 28, 1994; and I have been sober since.
Awesome things started to happen for me after that. I got out of the USAF and grew my hair. I started growing in Christ and as a person. The Lord also healed my scarred liver and my mind became clearer and clearer. The Lord put many awesome people in my life, including two musicians I met in AA. One guy was a bass player and the other guy was a guitar player, and they wanted to form a band. They knew I didn't play any instruments so they asked me if I could sing. I knew I could sing, so I became the lead singer. We then found a drummer and started playing here and there. Right after joining the band, I knew the Lord had called me to be one of his rock singers. As previously stated, I was called at an early age to be one of his rock musicians but didn't know I was called to be the singer. What an honor it was and just look how the Lord had turned everything around for me! I didn't learn bass, guitar, or how to play the drums when I was young because that was forbidden by my dad; but my Father in heaven had an even better plan for me.
Things began to change with the band. As I grew in Christ more and more, even without regularly attending a church, I began to feel uncomfortable singing some of the lyrics of the songs we were covering. The two guys with which I formed the band were Christians, but closet Christians; but not me. I always stood up for the Lord. I wanted to start incorporating some Christian songs into the band but that didn't go over well; so I was fired from the band. The Lord was ending my stay in this secular cover band and was preparing me for something much better.
About a week after I was "fired" from the secular band, my roommate at the time received a flyer from a church. He wasn't a Christian, but he knew I was, so he gave it to me. It was a flyier regarding a concert at a church. I decided to go. While at the concert, I got to talking with a brother and he just happened to be a drummer. I told him what had happened to me and we decided to form a Christian rock/hard rock band. We then put up an ad at a music store for a guitar player. Within a week, a brother answered. I talked to him on the phone for quite some time and he then joined the band. He had original songs that he had written so we were all set. We found a bass player and we started to jam. We came up with a name for the band: "Crosstalk." This was amazing and incredible. I had finally heeded the Lord's calling on my life.
The drummer of the band belonged to the church where the concert was and was actually the drummer for the church band. The church allowed us to rehearse there and we'd rehearse quite often. The church was charismatic; and I ended up joining it even though I was non-denominational and didn't agree with speaking in tongues, etc. This new guitar player we got also started to teach me dispensationalism, right division, and the mystery. He also taught me how the King James Bible is the Bible for English-speaking people. All of the songs he wrote were along those lines so I learned a lot just from singing the songs. Thank the Lord for his wisdom and that, although I really didn't agree with what the charismatic movement proclaimed, the Lord knew I was ripe to come to the "knowledge of the truth," which the guitar player was teaching me.
To make a long story short, Crosstalk ended up disbanding in 2006. However, we did manage to make a CD called "The Majestic Mystery." Also, I ended up becoming what I call a "mystery saint." I became the man the Lord wanted me to be. I have listened to numerous teachings from Richard Jordan of Shorewood Bible Church and have grown in grace. I belong to a small but great Bible study group of fellow "mystery saints," and I also watch church services on Sunday mornings from Shorewood via the Internet. Currently, I am thinking and praying about possibly attending Grace School of the Bible which is run by Pastor Jordan.