|How God Has Worked in My Life And Brought Me to Himself|
My name is Karl Garlick. The first time I can remember hearing someone try to explain the gospel to me was during VBS when I was about 10. They where sharing how, even if we tell one lie we deserve to go to hell, and that Jesus offers us eternal life as a gift and all we have to do is receive it. I imagined that I live my life and when I die Jesus asks me if I want eternal life and if I say yes He hands it to me. Of course, I didn't know what it would look like.
The next thing I remember is a time when I was in church with my parents during the Lord's Supper. They were drinking the grape juice and I couldn't. I asked my Dad why I couldn't drink the grape juice. He said I had to accept Jesus as my Savior. "I do I do", I told him. Then he said I had to go forward at the end of the service. That week the pastor didn't give an invitation, but the next week he did so I went forward. Then the pastor had a special meeting on baptism. I decided to wait until I was 30 to be baptized like Jesus did.
I had a miserable year when I was in eleventh grade. I became very withdrawn. I'd get up in the morning, go to school, come home and go to bed. I couldn't handle all the fighting, yelling and cursing of my brothers and sister. I'd get up when my mom came home from work. Things would get a little quieter then. Things weren't good at school either. The other students were vandalizing my Votech projects. I spent a lot of time thinking of suicide. As I did this, it led to a major question. What would happen to me when I died?
I attended church pretty regular. Anything to get out of the house. I remembered hearing a preacher say, "If Jesus is in your heart you'll have joy. Well I didn't feel any joy. I use to pray the sinners' prayer repeatedly trying to get joy. It didn't work. I would close my eyes, pray the prayer, open my eyes, and still feel the same. I didn't know what to do. I remembered hearing a preacher say, "If you read the Bible cover to cover, you'll know the way to heaven." I told myself, "If I could live through this time in my life, I could live through anything, and later, I may learn how to get to heaven. I decided I'd better wait.
Something I didn't realize then is that God knew what I was going through. He heard my prayer and was answering it. That year He sent two people into my life to try to witness to me. The one was from church. I don't remember ever seeing him in church until the day he introduced himself to me. He came over to me after the service and said he was praying, and asking God who he should talk to and all the sudden my face came into his mind. He told me God has given him a special love for me. He talked to me for a while, but that's all I remember him saying. He gave me some booklets and tracts. I read them and I helped him split firewood and clean his chimney. He left the church that year also. The other person who witnessed to me was from Votech class. When he started telling me about Jesus, I asked him why he doesn't tell the others? After all, they were the ones cutting my wires. He didn't have much experience and didn't get very far. I was being self-righteous and didn't realize it.
About 10 years later I was working in a woman's house and she invited me to church. The first night I was there the pastor asked me if I was saved. I said, "I think so, but I'm not sure." We talked a little, then ended up talking about needing help cutting the church lawn. I volunteered to help. After the work was finished the pastor and I would sit down and talk about salvation. I knew the whole salvation outline before he started sharing. But Through my life experiences I had been programmed to believe it was for others and not me. I was so withdrawn that I never felt included. And I never thought salvation was there for me too.
One day he was sharing with me from John 3:16, which I knew by heart anyway. The Bible says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." And he asked, "Well, you're part of the world, aren't you?" After thinking about it I had to agreed. Then he added, "God's not a liar, is He?" After hearing this I was able to accept salvation. I couldn't call God a liar.
I had a struggle after that. I wasn't sure if I was saved when I was younger and just didn't realize it, or when I finally understood. I use to think it was when I was younger, but at which time in my life, I wasn't sure. I didn't know what my testimony was. The pastor told me I wasn't saved back then. I started praying about it. After two years, I got an answer. Can one be made clean and not know it? Can a person take a bath and not know it? Can one be born and not know it? No, they can't. I was saved when the pastor said I was.
So how about you? Do you know where you'll go when you die? If I ask you to meet me at a particular place, would you be able to? First, you'd have to want to meet me there. Then you'd have to realize you couldn't get there on your own. You need the directions to the place we're to meet. Without them, you're lost. Then you need to commit yourself to going.
So, do you want to go to heaven? Do you realize your need of the directions? Do you understand that you are lost without them?
Heaven belongs to God! No one knows the way to heaven better than God does. And He wants us to know it too! So He gave us the Holy Bible, the Word of the Lord. These are the directions to show us the way. In John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." The Bible also says in John 1:29, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Our sin is what makes us feel uncertain of getting to heaven. Actually, it is condemning us to hell. But Jesus, shed His blood, died on the cross, and rose from the grave to take away our sin and give us eternal life. God's not going to lie to us. He said in Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Will you believe God? Will you commit yourself to Jesus, who "is the way?" Will you "Behold the Lamb?" If you agree you can pray a prayer like this:
It's okay to be uncertain. But it's not okay to want to be uncertain. If you are having trouble believing please e-mail me! You have nothing to lose, but may gain eternal life, security and the peace that passes understanding.
Written by Karl Garlick. Dedicated to the advancement of the Christian Faith.
This tract is Copyright © 2006 by Karl Garlick
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