Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Testimony IV: And We Shall be as Children

Seven years. One of those significant Biblical numbers - God does a lot of things in periods of seven. Remember, my wife was not a Bible reader (nor ever had been) but for the next seven years did this:

1 Peter 3:1 In the same way, wives, be subject to your own husbands. Then, even if some are disobedient to the word, they will be won over without a word by the way you live, 2 when they see your pure and reverent conduct.
In seven years, we had two discussions on religion:
  1. the first two days when she and I found out where we stood;
  2. when my wife found out she was pregnant four years into our marriage she said she wanted to raise our child christian.
However, every day she prayed for my salvation. I am convinced this happened:
Luke 18:1 Then Jesus told them a parable to show them they should always pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected people. 3 There was also a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but later on he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor have regard for people, 5 yet because this widow keeps on bothering me, I will give her justice, or in the end she will wear me out by her unending pleas..'"
God just got tired of listening to her.

I used to bone up all week at the library in Joplin; and then go to a "coffee house" they had at Ozark Bible College to evangelize hippies so I could bash on students about evolution. My friend John W. went once and saw them "save" a Catholic - so he boned up on Catholic apologetics and went and bashed on them about Catholicism. For 16 years, I spent lots of time preparing to, and hammering, christian belief and theology from a variety of positions. I now am just able to argue with me then.

A women moved in next to our apartment: Ok K., A Korean women enrolled in seminary; and somehow she had gotten by the test on her English skills to get admitted. I was in school at the time, and she asked me to edit her papers for her Old Testament class. I agreed, and could keep my opinions out (or they would have expelled her) - and God had me in the Word.

Alan R. was a business associate of mine. Successful, loving, with a wonderful wife and children. He was the first person I had ever met that I would have preferred to be. He had fruit - and he gave all credit to God. Three years before I met him his wife and him were strung out on cocaine and ready to divorce. They met Christ. After the hypocrisy that blew me out of the church, I had to see a christian man walking the walk. That was Alan R.

My daughter was two years old. I knew that my wife needed the church; and wanted my daughter to attend. I also knew she feared going to church will a daughter, and not a husband. She knew she would get attitude either with no husband; or a pagan for one. She had experienced this with her first daughter - having never married that time. I offered to help her find a church; and would attend with her. After all, God didn't exist so He wouldn't strike me with lightning when I walked in the door. We went to Alan's church - and it was expositional. God had me back in church; and deeper in the Word.

Four months later, at a weekend business seminar in Spokane (Alan and my wife were there) the organizers put together a Sunday morning non-denominational service for the attenders that were christian. I went with my wife. I would not have said going in that I was any closer to accepting Christ than I had been four years before. She got sick halfway through the service; and finished out the service in the car. She told me to stay - she would be right back after some air - and I did. At the end of the service, there was an alter call (accompanied by "Amazing Grace" of course) and my pride broke. I found myself weeping on my knees in front of the stage; admitting the failure to run my life; and giving my life and myself to Christ. If my wife had been there I might never have gotten out of my seat.

I said at the time that my heart had written a check my head could not cash. I have certainly cashed it since.

My first service as a new christian was Easter. The next week I was baptised by Alan R. Two weeks after that I had the honor to baptise my wife; who saved my life. Four years later, I had the priviledge of baptising my daughter. Two months ago I celebrated my tenth birthday. God is Great.

The Beginning.

12 comments:

  1. Well, I don't think I have any observations so far, after all, except to be happy for you that you're happy with your life. I guess that's an okay observation though, huh? I guess I'm just more used to arguing.

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  2. Wait, wait, I've got something. Do you think that having done some depraved things yourself (I'm recalling some comments you made on Watchpost about multiple partners, free love, suicides) before coming to God, you believe you have authority to advise others? Hang on, I'd be defensive if someone asked me that; what I mean is that I've seen a tendency in saved people to play up the immorality of their lives before they were saved, sometimes almost wallowing in how bad they were. I think I'll stop there in case I'm digging a hole for myself, but does any of this resonate at all?

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  3. Laura,

    Actually no (but maybe it should). I do not feel any guilt about those events - I was never unconscious. I made decisions I thought were right at the time. I actually agree with Tyler that those events helped shape who I am; and I am still arrogant enough to think I am OK. The lack of guilt is the only thing I tinge on feeling guilty about. I think your question is quite reasonable; and you cannot divulge the kind of personal information I did and expect to be insulated from insulting questions. There are quite a few trolls our there who love me, and would enjoy this stuff.

    Remember too that I was seven years married before I came to Christ - so my brokenness was not over my past sexual sin.

    If I were going to advise others from my experiences, it would only be the plywood example. Intercourse binds you body, mind, and spirit to another person (regardless of how casual the partners believe it is). You do not know the lasting effect it will have on the person you bind with, and then unbind with. For that matter you do not know the lasting effect on you - but there will be one on both.

    Terrible outcomes or not, almost all my sexual partners have not been truly casual. Until the adultery during my first marriage, I lived with every one of my sexual partners - and even with the prostitutes in that marriage I saw the same ones over and over.

    Finally, I know a lot of guys; and the past morality of my life isn't that bad by the world's standards. I may view that I sunk to a low level; but I was certainly still just "one of the guys". One of those reasons that I say that sexual promiscuity benefits men.

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  4. The other interesting point for christians is that intercourse involves Christ indwelling you and the Holy Spirit.

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  5. I'd say that your plywood analogy applies to non-sexual intercourse too; we affect people by interacting with them, full stop. If one is mindful in all interactions with others (or, more realistically, tries for that ideal), that one has a good chance of being sexually healthy.

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  6. Ooh, that's good. Reminds me of the sermon Laura and I heard today from my chaplain from high school, whom we were surprised to find was guest preaching at the service we attended.

    (That's high praise -- I'm sure I wouldn't doing whatever good things I might be doing as a Christian right now if it weren't for Jack -- but Laura should be used to such praise from me.)

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  7. Great story! I found the part in which God used a Korean seminary student to get you into the Word particularly interesting. God can be very creative. Korean Christians have blessed my life too--my husband is one!

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  8. Thanks for sharing your testimony. It's wonderful!

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  9. What a beautiful thing it is to see God calling a man so clearly and lovingly.

    Thank you for your story, John.

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  10. Thank you for sharing this! Wow, an amazing story. Amazing Grace. God is truly good and merciful.

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  11. This is my first visit to your blog, John. I came over here from the Christian Carnival. I know this is old, but I just wanted to thank you for sharing it.

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How to debate charitably (rules are links to more description of rule):
1. The Golden Rule
2. You cannot read minds
3. People are not evil
4. Debates are not for winning
5. You make mistakes
6. Not everyone cares as much as you
7. Engaging is hard work
8. Differences can be subtle
9. Give up quietly