The Gospel Story and My Testimony
My first encounter with the gospel message
I shall starts with my first encounter with a “preacher” for the Lord – a 12 years old friend who is also a primary school good friend of mine.
He came to my house one day to visit me. On that visit, at the outside of my house gate, I could remember very clearly the look of his face. On his face was a very bright smile that radiates joy. Standing in front was my good friend who suddenly changed so dramatically. He used to be a naughty and rebellious child but now was such a good boy. It started me wondering what the reason for this big change was
Here was a good friend whom I knew well. He had no qualms to run away from home when he is unhappy with his family. On two occasions he had ran away from home and his mother was not able to discipline him. His father is a seaman and out at sea for weeks, seldom at home because of the nature of his job.
I heard that he jumped down from his house’s one-storey high balcony to run away when his mother locked all the doors in his second attempt. At that young age, he was brave, rebellious, naughty and stubbornly independent.
The seed sower
Because of that day that he came to my house to tell me about Jesus and how Jesus changed him, well I listened and it leaves a deep impression on me. From then I start to have major questions about “where do I come from”? & “where do I go to when I died”? & “what is life”? & “what is Truth”?
Desirous to find my destiny
I started seeking for answers and through searching out from others’ wisdom and through various experiments and experiences, just like what Solomon has written about in the book of Ecclesiastes.
What happened is I am starting to awake and keen to find real answers to these major questions from my own searching and first hand experiences.
For me I consider that it is of utmost importance to find out first hand, not through a second person or a third person’s account. As like in Solomon’s case:
I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:Ecclesiastes 7:25
And here begins my journey of searching that takes me through many personal real life experiences and experiments.
The degenerate old me (old man)
This start of this journey of searching should be at the age of 14. At this age I started stealing a bicycle. Soon after, I started to lose interest in studies and mixing with all sorts and types of people.
Around age 15, I started smoking, progressing to start popping soft drugs. And very fast it became a downward spiral for me, doing more vices like drinking, parties, fighting and so on.
At age 16 I quit studying and started a life of drifting and doing crazy things. I was in the company of street hooligans. There were many neighbors kids that were keen on wearing the badge of belonging and we became part of a clique. Most of the time, we went around to create havoc in our lives and in our neighborhood.
Life was a wild ride
For the thrill of excitements and to drown the emptiness of life, I joined a few friends to steal expensive perfumes, liquors and other expensive items from an emporium store, shoplifting of expensive jeans from a shop along expensive Orchard road, shop breaking into a market coffee shop to steal money and cigarettes and stealing a car for joy ride in the middle of the night.
The change in me from a normal kid was drastic as I find life is like a meaningless existence. Though I have a nice home and family, I began living the life of a drifter, hardly going back home. My life was spent having all these first-hand experiences with people from different backgrounds, having long conversation sessions about life, many crazy nights for me, to understand about life and find the purpose of my existence on this earth.
Does God really exist?
In my mind is this question of whether this theory is true or is it false? If there is no God who judges right and wrong, then why do I fear on how I live my life the way I wanted to for then there is no consequences. So why is my lifestyle a concern for others, right?
I challenge the concept that there is a holy and righteous God. And many a times when I continue to do bad things, my conscience is hurting and a voice that would tells me that I have already put one foot in hell and to turn from continuing in all these actions. I was like knowing that it is a slippery way to hell which is a place to punish all evildoers.
And another voice of the devil would tells me that God does not exists and there is no hell, so it is okay to do and to continue to do all these bad things.
Truly if there is no God, whatever we do will not have consequences as long as I do not get caught by the police? So why shouldn’t we be living our lives the way we wanted to and to live our lives in pleasure if there is no accountability at the end of our life on earth.
God’s grace preserved my life
When I reached 18 years old of age, the government drafted me in the year 1975 to serve national service in the army. I remembered myself as rebellious and anti-social in my army days because of those years of wayward ways before my draft.
Within the army organization, discipline and regimentation is an important part of army life. So I could not fit in with this new environment and I faced many challenges then in my life because of the past habits and lifestyle.
When I looked back, I gratefully thank God that I did not die during those dark and wild days or I would have died in my sins. To die in my sins, there is only one outcome, i.e. hell awaits me for there is no salvation for my soul.
Today I understand from God’s words about the amazing grace of God. I could see that God preserved my life during times of danger. There were few incidents of real dangers but one of significance was a near-overdose on drugs where my mind feels like almost exploding. The dangers in losing one’s life was very real as we have known a fellow drug user that walks into the sea and drown while being high and another one who jumps from a high building to his death.
The thief (devil) cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.John 10:10
The life changing moment
Then one day a good friend of mine invited me to go to church. This good friend of mine was also my class monitor during school days and part of my neighborhood friends. When he invited me to church, he also a changed person from his past and somehow was doing well in his life.
He was an army captain officer as well, pretty impressed me with how he is getting on in life. Because we were close, I went with him. At this time of my life, I was a wreck and a failure with no future.
I remembered the message was on the prodigal son and God, the good Father is waiting for his child to return home. There was a challenge from God calling me to come and taste Him (Ps 34:8 – Taste and see that the Lord is good) starting this new journey of discovery. The message from God is clearly about Jesus as Lord and Savior. No man can come to the Father except through Jesus Christ. Jesus claimed: ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”. Only in coming to Jesus Christ can He can gave me a new beginning, a new life and a new hope is what Jesus promise me.
I have tried the other side over the past few years. Is this the answer that I could be seeking to the meaning of life and my existence on earth?
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation
Hesitantly on that night, I decided to accept God’s altar call. It was a call to repent and to enter into a new life and experience, to search out first hand on this claim.
Is this claim that Jesus is the Son of God who died for the sins of the world true? And is He able to help me with all my life’s challenges and struggles?
This moment was my spiritual birth, my born again into the heavenly kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.
So stepping out in faith, I committed my life to Jesus, believing on His words and promises. Jesus had said that blessed are those who believes yet without seeing. Firstly I have to believe by faith and God will reveals more and more of Himself and His faithfulness as I commit and trust Him to change me.
I needed God to rescue me from the power of the kingdom of darkness and despair to put me in His kingdom of light and love.
It was a 180 degree turnaround for me to change the direction of how I lived. This means getting rid of all the past habits, bad thoughts, vices and start following the teachings as written in the words of God, the bible. Slowly and surely, a transformation occurs in my inner being.
Today I can indeed says as what has been written, about the story of the prodigal son, about the heart of God the Father – God is waiting for those who seeks after Him, those who belongs to Him, His lost children to come back to Him and He has prepared a place in heaven for us.
Prodigal son returns home
Like the prodigal son, my Heavenly Father gave me a second chance in life with Him, put on the ring of son-ship, given the best clothes and a feast prepared to celebrate my return.
Jesus is that Good Shepherd – He will leave the ninety-nine sheep and goes all the way to find that one lost sheep to bring back into the fold.
My journey in faith through the years ahead confirms the truth in God’s words – As what the Lord Jesus had said:
¶ Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: Mt 7:8 – For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”Matthew 7:7
Truly when anyone seeks for the Truth earnestly, he will find as Jesus will reveal Himself to whoever seeks.
All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.Matthew 11:27
So today I can say as what the Psalmist says in 40:2
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.Psalms 40:2
It is my prayer since that with God’s help, that He will use my life to love, to honor Him for sacrificing His life on the cross, so that all my sins can be forgiven and for all that He had done for me.
Also for His promise that He will always be with us to the end of the world as we serve Him throughout the days of our life.
Our Heavenly Father’s love
It is through God’s love that today I can stand before all men to testify that God is indeed good through my journey of faith thus far with Him. God is always faithful even though at times I am faithless. And surely goodness and mercies shall follows me and my family all the days of my life.
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.Jeremiah 23:5