Returning to Christ

Have you ever read the Old Testament in the Bible and wondered how some of the Patriarchs of the Old Testament did it? Jacob/Israel was a liar and a thief, yet became father of the nation that bears his name. King David was an adulterer and a murderer, yet considered a man after God’s own heart. Jeremiah was full of self-doubt and loathing, yet was one of the greatest prophets. God’s grace was sufficient for them, as it is for us today. I offer my own story of conversion as proof positive of His exceeding goodness.

My youth

I gave my heart to Jesus when I was a freshman in high school. My step-father had just passed away and I desperately needed a Savior. He proved Himself faithful to that need in my young life. I was a leader in my youth group at church, and eventually became the president of a Christian club at my high school.

When I went to junior college, I had an unpaid position as a program director at a local Christian radio station, and was still following Jesus. Then I transferred to university.

Then I strayed…

I have always had a great love of reading and books. When I went to university, I had a serious encounter with their library. I discovered several books that purported to show how a Christian can practice Zen and other mystical Eastern practices. I thought I was being true to Christ while I followed these other practices, which gave me a false dependence on my own abilities to reach God or the Divine.

Eventually, I came to realize that these practices did not lead to a closer state with the divine. After all, the end goal of many of them was the state of “nothingness” or “no-soul.” Feeling empty, I searched for further answers and thought I found them in the Mormon church. Here, all my hard work promised to not only lead me to God but to make me a god!

Then she prayed…

I followed the teachings of the Mormon church for many years, eventually becoming a Melchizedek Priesthood holder, receiving my own endowments in the Temple, and even getting married in the temple. I did not find anything significant in all these ceremonies, however. I found having to be priest of the home to be especially difficult, especially when my wife began having mental problems. I found it to be so difficult that I filed for divorce.

Shortly thereafter, my mother, who had been praying for me for many years, invited me to her Christian church one Sunday. I do not remember what the pastor was speaking about, only that, at the end of his message, he gave a call for anyone who wanted to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. I raised my hand and committed my life to Him.

Like Manasseh of old, I strayed greatly from my Lord. But the amazing thing about Him is that His grace is bigger than any of my mistakes and He received me with open arms. Like with Manasseh, there were consequences to my actions that affected others, especially the daughter I had with my first wife, but He is faithful and true and helps us draw closer to Him every day.

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