Faith Is Not always Easy!
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12 NLT)
My Salvation Story
During my Junior year in high school, I started dating Linda. She was a tremendous influence on my life and it was through her influence that I began the process of discovering my need for Christ. I saw quickly that my life was different from hers. She was a committed Christian growing up in a Christian home. She and her family were very involved in Mt Horeb Baptist Church and attended every time the doors were opened. Her parents were leaders in the church. We were both involved in the high school “Junior Play” and that is when I really became attracted to Linda, now my wife of 50 years. Our first date was the night of the High School Junior Play and several of us went to the Lamp Post Restaurant in Meridian to celebrate. She invited me to a revival service at her church. I didn’t know what a revival service was, but I went because I really liked her. I attended with her every night the whole week. On Friday night, it seemed as if the preacher was talking directly to me. He would say such things as, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” He seemed to know me so well I felt he might call my name. Then he said, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” At the end of his sermon he invited people to come forward who wanted to trust Jesus as Savior and Lord. I really felt God’s presence and really wanted to go down, but I didn’t. I had never been to a revival service and I didn’t know what they might do to me if they got me down front. At the end of the service as Linda and I walked out the front door I said to her, “I want to trust Jesus as my Savior and Lord.” We talked on the way to her house and she went and got her dad. He took his Bible and shared the same scriptures the preacher had just used and explained to me how to trust Jesus as my Savior and Lord. I will never forget kneeling down at their sofa with Linda and her dad and asking Jesus to be my Savior and Lord.
My life changed drastically. I didn’t become perfect, but I did want God to fill my life. Some of my closest friends began calling me Preacher, not as a term of endearment, but in ridicule. They knew how I had lived and they questioned if it was “real”. They didn’t believe my life would be different. One thing always puzzled me: Many of the guys I ran around with attended New Hope Baptist Church, Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Mt. Horeb Baptist Church, or Jones Chapel Church of God. I was not a Christian at that point in my life and even though they attended a church, their lives were no different from mine.
After I trusted Jesus as Savior and Lord, I started attending church faithfully with Linda and her family. Her dad and the pastor had a prayer meeting each Saturday night. I started going to their prayer time and it was in that experience that I learned how to pray. I heard those men pour out their hearts to God. They prayed for many people by name that they might trust Jesus as Savior and Lord. I will never forget that experience and how it has influenced my prayer life over all these years.