Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. – II Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
For about a year or so I was searching for the missing element in my life. The temporary pleasures of this world were no longer satisfying, God had to be the answer! I would attempt to read the bible, I would listen to Christian music, and I would even listen to Greg Laurie’s radio program A New Beginning on the way to work, and at the end of each program I would recite the sinners prayer.
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and life. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank You for saving me. Amen”
Afterwards Greg would always recommend finding a church to be with other believers for support and to grow in the faith. I would talk to my wife about going to church but we would always find some excuse not to go, besides I had way to many issues inside of my heart that needed to be dealt with first!
One Friday night after work I came home and headed to the refrigerator as I always did. And as I stood in front of the open refrigerator something came over me, something was tugging at my heart, I knew I had to quit, I knew I had to stop all this drinking. 7 days a week, 365 days a year I was seldom without a drink in hand, it was time to put an end to it! I admitted to myself that I was an alcoholic and needed help. As I stood there I thought to myself, “I am going to drink all this alcohol and I’m never going to drink again! And next Sunday I’m going to church!” This is what I needed to do! This was the next step! [FYI, I don’t recommend drinking everything that’s in the refrigerator, especially if it’s alcohol! Bad idea!]
So a day later I made plans with my wife that we would both go to church together and she agreed. Sunday came pretty quick! I awoke, did my thing, and was ready to go! When I came downstairs I found my wife was still in her pajamas and not even prepared to head out the door, so off to church I went, without her!
I barely remember that day or the message that was taught but I knew the Spirit of God was now dwelling inside my heart, I was changed! I felt His presence! I was a new man in Christ! I made the right choice and was saved by God’s grace! Some time later my wife using not so choice words, told me “I left that day a jerk and came back as a Saint” she no longer knew who I was! I was not the man she married! She thought I was nuts and even thought about leaving me, that’s how drastically I changed. She didn’t know what to think! I stopped drinking, I stopped using profanity, you name it, I stopped doing it! That was June 3rd 2011, and everyday that goes by God continues to do amazing things in my life! And since that time of my drastic change my wife has stuck by my side and she too is now saved! I owe it all to Jesus! For His blood was spilled for our sins, and by His grace we are saved!
The Bible tells me, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8 (NKJV)
The fact of the matter is this, I had an encounter with God and He saved me that day because He loves me and wants the best for me! And He wants the best for you too! But you have to take the first step and admit that you need Him! Admit that you need His help. Stop relying on yourself and ask God to take over. Give Him your whole heart not half. Seek The Lords face and encounter God!
You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV)
Give ear to my words, O LORD, Consider my meditation. Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God, For to You I will pray. My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up. – Psalms 5:1-3 (NKJV)
Dear Lord, God,
I thank you for saving me, I thank you for bestowing your grace upon me, I thank you for loving me! I pray for Your will and only Your will in my life! I want nothing more than to be like You! Father I pray for those who seek to fill that empty void, for those who are lost and wondering if you are there. May they give it all to you and accept Your Son as their Lord and Savior. May they feel your presence in their life as they seek Your face and give you their whole heart! In Jesus’ name, amen!
Craig Bradshaw – July 5, 2014