my-journey-with-god-cover-for-goodreads

Chapter One

Deliverance and Donuts

(continued from Home page)

God sent men into the pigpen where I worked – godly men who would sit at a table and talk with one another about Him most every day. I would be wiping off the counter nearby and overhear their conversation. Unknowingly, I was being drawn by God’s Spirit to open my heart to Him – for I lingered in my cleanup duties, listening without realizing it.

God also sent a woman who kept putting the radio on a Christian station in the kitchen. Every time I turned around I would change the channel – only to have the other woman change it back again. God wanted His words to be heard …

I had been having a problem with my weight, and now here I was working in a place where donuts, pastries, and other sweets were made, sold, and enjoyed by customers.

Every day it was my job to put glaze on the raised donuts, to fill some with cream, to frost others, to put fresh product out for sale, and to encourage others to partake with a smile on my face as I waited on the customers. I knew I needed to stay away from actually eating any of these confections – so I brought an orange to work and ate that on my break instead.

When I was offered the chance to get free donuts and other food I declined, telling my boss that if I got started eating it, I’d never stop. It didn’t take long for my resolve to melt away and for me to give in to the temptation to eat the sweets that were all around me. It didn’t take long for me to take food home with me as well – stuffing as much as I dared into a bag before I left for the day – repeatedly.

Food was my drug and I had no self-control. I had no concept of hunger and full signals. I only knew it satisfied my desire (whatever that unnamed desire was) for the moment.

I didn’t realize what sugar highs and sugar lows could do to a body or to a mind. I didn’t realize how much I was hurting myself in my useless attempt to fill a void I didn’t know existed in my very soul.

I needed to be delivered – delivered from the bondage food had on me – “delivered from the donuts” – delivered from my sin of idolatry – of looking for other things to satisfy the void only God could truly satisfy with Himself.

It got worse. I started getting tempted by someone who was working closely beside me. Their innocent attention and the familiarity of being so physically close was drawing me towards committing even worse sins. I was a happily married woman and I knew it would be wrong to cross that line.

I was scared by how easy it would’ve been to ruin everything. But even then, in God’s mercy and grace to me – His enemy – He enabled me to resist. God took the man out of that location – away from me – and gave me the realization that he hadn’t cared for me anyway.

If all of that wasn’t enough to bring me to my knees there was even more to come. One day the chief of police came in to have breakfast and found “incriminating evidence”. Fortunately, he believed me when I told him it wasn’t mine. I didn’t want to get in trouble for something I didn’t do – and by God’s grace yet again – I didn’t.

For some reason unbeknownst to me, I cared about what others thought of me. I was especially concerned with what one specific man thought. For one of the men who came in and talked about God in his conversations with others had been my Sunday School teacher when I’d been a teenager.

This man had been the only teacher who had made such an impression on me that I’d actually remembered him. (I didn’t remember what he’d actually taught – just that he really seemed to mean it with all his heart.) I didn’t want him thinking I’d done something wrong or was involved in something wrong (and I didn’t want to do something wrong or get in trouble either).

Shortly after, I was asked to lie if asked certain questions by officials. To the other person it probably seemed like no big deal, but to me, I knew it was wrong. My soul had unknowingly been in a battle between good and evil, right and wrong, and there had been temptations on every side.

I had to get to my lowest point. I had to get to the deepest pit. I had to get scared by how easy it would be for me to sin and ruin everything. I was on the brink. I was on the edge. I was at the point where a decision had to be made – one way or another.

After all I’d been through, I knew I needed to get out. I knew I needed to get away. I knew I didn’t want to suffer the potential negative consequences if I stayed any longer – so I quit my job and let my boss think what he would. I had made the decision to leave – no turning back.

Unknowingly, I had allowed God to take me out of the pit of temptation to sin, and I had begun to allow the Holy Spirit to draw me closer to God – the One true God – who would soon be delivering me, not only from donuts, but also from the power of all sin that held me captive – as I would soon be surrendering myself fully to Him and receiving His wonderful gift of salvation.

**************************************************************

“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy…” Titus 3:3-5

Chapter Two

Receiving the Gift

Soon after I quit my job and escaped the temptations that had been all around me, my mom invited my son to Vacation Bible School and even offered to pick him up and drop him off. I knew if I let him go he’d come home all excited and want to talk about God every day. I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want to deal with it. I wasn’t ready to face my own need for salvation. However, at the same time, I wanted what was best for my son, so I put his needs ahead of my own desires and left the decision up to him. He chose to go.

As I had suspected, he came home every day excited and wanting to talk about God – and I was having to deal with it. After years of growing up feeling like I’d been forced to go to church, I hadn’t wanted to force my son to go to VBS (that’s why I had left the decision up to him – strangely believing it would be best if he did go). Now, with the week coming to a close, my son started getting tired. On the morning of the last day he didn’t want to go.

As I had already told him it was his decision and I wasn’t going to force him to go if he didn’t want to I didn’t make him go that morning. However, that same night there was to be a special program for the parents that the children were going to be in.

I knew the other children would be counting on my son to be there and participate with them, so I tried to convince him he really should go that night – and he ended up choosing to go. When evening came, my husband and I took our son to the church to watch him in the final nights’ program. After having been gone from this particular church (and all church) for about nine years I came back – for my son.

The program went well, and the message had been about seeds. It told about how some seeds fell on good soil and grew, while other seeds fell on rocky or sandy soil and didn’t grow so well. The seed represented God’s Word; the soil, someone’s heart. So, the message was really describing what happened in someone’s heart when the seed of God’s Word was planted inside – did they take it seriously and let it grow – or not?

After the program and message the Pastor started talking about getting saved (otherwise known as becoming a Christian) and how to do so. (He would say a prayer and if anyone would like to accept the Lord into their hearts right then, they could repeat the words after him and raise their hand.) Everyone was also supposed to have their eyes closed – but I didn’t. I saw my son raise his hand and heard him repeat the words the Pastor was saying – so my son got saved that night.

I felt a part of me want to put his hand down to stop him – but I resisted the urge to do so. I also heard the Pastor tell the parents to help their children who may have gotten saved that night to live in the right way – to help guide them in the right direction – and to help them stay on the path for God.

I knew what this would mean in my situation. I would have to deal with the fact that my son had just gotten saved, and it was my job to help him and teach him right from wrong and everything else he should know and do. It meant I couldn’t avoid the subject anymore. I couldn’t run and hide from it. I loved my son and only wanted the best for him, so I had to put aside my own feelings and help him learn what it meant to be a Christian.

After that night, my son’s cousin started asking him to go to her church again – and I had to say yes. I started thinking about everything I had learned while I had been growing up about God and Jesus and the Bible. My heart began to open to God.

My son went to his cousin’s church more now than he had before and I was starting to think about going with him soon.

Shortly after, on a Sunday morning, I went. Feeling nervous, I sat as far back as possible – probably so I could make a quick get-a-way if needed. However, I had been noticed anyway and had to go up front to receive a “Welcome” sticky flower to put on my sweater.

My son’s cousin was involved in the church’s quizzing and choir groups and asked him to join as well – even though he’d been attending services less than a month. He decided to join both groups and came to really enjoy them.

Now that my son was more involved in the church, I felt like I should be too. I started going to church every Sunday thinking it would be a good idea to meet some new people, and thinking I could help my son learn how to be a Christian better if I went with him to church.

All throughout my adult life I’d always felt there was something missing in my life (especially when I wasn’t working). I kept wanting to feel fulfilled – to have a purpose in life – but it seemed like I could never find it. I came to realize I’d always been looking in the wrong places. I saw an advertisement on TV for a free book that taught what it meant to be a Christian and I sent for the book (thinking if I started finding out more information for myself it would help me better). I felt like it was finally time to start discovering the meaning of life and my place in it.

Through a series of events, I started to seriously think about what I really believed in and what I really wanted to teach my son. Up until this point, my husband and I had tried to teach our son right from wrong just because of what we thought – but by choosing to believe the teachings of the Bible I could now have a real basis – a real authority – behind what I taught him as it wasn’t just my word and my thoughts – it was God’s Word and God’s principles.

I made the choice to open my heart to receive the truth about what it meant to be a Christian. Once I made that choice I read the book I’d sent for and realized that it was my own heart condition that had been the problem as to why I’d felt all the emptiness – and why nothing could fill that void. I realized that my life was empty without a relationship with Jesus. I realized that only by accepting God’s plan for salvation – as described in the Bible – could I ever have that emptiness completely filled. I had tried all sorts of other things and nothing had worked. Now, I believed that Jesus was the answer to meet my need.

I realized that only Jesus could completely fill the emptiness in my heart, so I finally gave up resisting and finally surrendered all to Jesus. I prayed – on my own – by myself – and accepted Jesus into my heart. I received the gift of salvation and began a personal relationship with Him.

In my prayer, I admitted I’d been living my life for myself, doing as I pleased, and had been disobeying God and His Word (the Bible). I admitted I was a sinner and confessed my sins and repented of them. I chose to obey God’s way – as described in the Bible – instead of my own way.

I accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for my sins. I accepted the Bible’s teaching that I could never pay the price to cover all the sins I ever commit. I accepted that God is a God of justice, and since someone had to pay the price, in His love, God sent His Son Jesus to the earth to be the Savior of the world. When Jesus died on the cross He shed His blood to pay the penalty for my sins (and the sins of the whole world). When I prayed, I accepted the gift Jesus gave to me by faith.

Through that prayer of salvation, I received Jesus into my heart to be my Lord and Savior. I now allow Him to lead me and guide me in my life rather than going my own way. As I’ve done that, I’ve discovered that God’s way – as described in the Bible – is always best. It hasn’t always been easy to obey God rather than my own will, but when I do, things always turn out better.

Having a personal relationship with Jesus has totally changed my entire life. I am not the same person I used to be. I have been changed and transformed (and that’s a good thing!)

Before I began a relationship with Jesus – called getting saved – I was always searching for something to fill the emptiness in my heart and life. Now that I am saved, the emptiness is gone! I am filled with God’s Spirit and a lasting satisfaction and fulfillment that I am in a right relationship with God.

Jesus has given me true life, true joy, and true peace. Every day of my life now has significance. What I choose to do with my life will impact eternity in how I relate to the people I communicate with every day. When I spend time in prayer and studying the Bible I learn more about God’s character and love, what He expects of me, and about the consequences of the choices I make.

Every choice I make affects someone else – whether for good or bad.

Living for God rather than for myself brings joy. And what Jesus has given to me, He will give to you too if you pray and ask from your heart.

**************************************************************

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved…Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:9,10,13

(end of chapter two)

Click on the following link to purchase from amazon.com

https://www.amazon.com/My-Journey-God-Ann-Marshall-ebook/dp/B00IKTUFW6/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8