Back on January 28th of this year, I began to tell you of my relationship with Jesus and how it came to be. You can read about that at yiandmeitogether.blogspot.com/2012/01/how-was-china.html. Then recently I added, prompted by the Holy Spirit, a second part to it which can be found at http://yiandmeitogether.blogspot.com/2012/03/long-and-winding-road-my-journey-to.html.
Now here I am again, doing my best to paint an accurate picture for you, the reader, of my life with and without Jesus in it. Hopefully, prayerfully, by the time you conclude this entry you will either a. Recognize you gave your life to Jesus a long time ago but never knew how to keep a relationship going with Him. In this case, you will have lost your witness, but not your salvation, but now you want to recommit to Him by studying His Word and living it out; b. You go to church on Sundays, read your bible sometimes and believe that makes you a Christian and are now realizing there is much more to it than that and that you must be born again in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven; or c. You have always thought of the Jesus story as one big scam and anyone claiming to believe in Him to be delusional but now you are willing to admit to yourself that there really is something to all of this and maybe even go as far as to seek His Face this very moment and ask Him to be Lord and Savior over your life.
Here it goes, friends:
Part III of My Journey to Him
Yet... still... I knew nothing of God's Word. So even though I had this love for Jesus, this REAL Love for Jesus, I embarked on a sixteen year journey practicing New Age teachings, deeply embedding myself into what i would now refer to as a New Age cult. I look back and recognize that the picture I developed of the Jesus of the Bible had become so distorted that I simply was in disbelief that the Jesus who visited me in my bedroom that night could be the same Jesus of the Bible my brothers used to preach at us about for hours on end. It never occurred to me that their view of Jesus and their interpretation of the Bible was what was distorted and neither of the former.
So for sixteen years, I chased after an image of a false Jesus through the writings of namely Torkom Saraydarian. All was not loss, however, because it was there I met my husband, Randy. It was there that the two of us decided to adopt Sonya. And it was there where the memory of the One Who Saved me began to slowly yet methodically resurrect Himself in my life, mind and heart - the Jesus of the Holy Bible - the Living Word.
Then just over five years ago, I was driving home after teaching a class out of town. I was listening to a Christian music station as had become customary for me to do being that it was the only station with clean lyrics without news and suitable for Sonya's little ears. On my mind that night was the concept of karma and past lives. I was thinking about how daily I was creating more negative karma for myself, whether it was with an unkind thought, negative emotion or behavior of some sort. I reflected on the scripture when Jesus tells us to “be perfect as my Father in heaven is perfect.” In the New Age teaching, this verse is interpreted at face value – a person needs to be completely perfect to leave this earth for good. At this point I grew perplexed and somewhat bewildered at the predicament in which I found myself. How in the world was I ever going to work off all the karma from this lifetime and every other lifetime since I’ve been on this earth, especially since I didn’t have a clue about what I had done in past lives?!!
I literally wept as I drove down the highway, crying out to God, “How long am I going to have to come back to this god-forsaken planet before I can come home to you?!” God’s reply to me, “Reincarnation is a lie. You only get one life.”
I think it is worth mentioning that at this time, Sonya was three years of age, and I just could not bring myself to ever want to teach Sonya about reincarnation. The idea literally repulsed me. Now I knew why.
Less than two weeks later, August of 2006, Randy and I walked away from that cult and never looked back. It was our love for Sonya which drove our decision to leave right away, and I can see now how God’s Plan for us to adopt Sonya was His way of leading us out of there. But…in order for Him to get our full attention, we first needed to leave.
Once we left the New Age, however, a vacuum had been created in our lives and not sure what to replace it with, we replaced it with not much of anything. Initially we did attend a church, more so to fulfill a need in us to give Sonya some sense of community more than anything else. But quite frankly, both Randy and I still had a bad taste in our mouth regarding the Bible and our notion of its contents. I still called people who really “got into” the bible “bible thumpers”.
At a Crossroads
It was in November of 2009 when I experienced a shattering realization about how far “good” people can stray from God’s will without ever knowing it. My husband Randy and I had made a decision concerning our financial future that we thought was God’s good and perfect will for our little family. When we discovered that not only was our decision not God’s will for us but because of our faulty judgment we were standing completely outside of His will, I wept bitter tears. Never in my life had I experienced such sorrow of spirit. I felt complete humiliation, and a deep despair welled up within my very bones. I thought I had it “all figured out”, but it turns out I didn’t know a thing.
I can see now how God used that experience to draw me closer to Him because it was in the experiencing of humiliation that I was humbled. For probably only the third time in my entire life, I fell down on my knees and repented of my every sin against the Father. I called out to the Lord to save me. It is then while I lay weeping and sobbing with my faced pressed up against the floor that the Lord spoke to me and said, “Learn my Word so that this may never happen to you again.” Amen!
It is then that I finally yielded myself to God completely and began the journey of understanding His Truth from His own mouth – The Holy Bible. Again I say, AMEN! It is then that I finally understood that when I walk with the Lord and lean on His Word as the ONLY Truth which guides me I will feel the presence of the Holy Spirit and in doing so avoid the snares of the adversary. In this I can give All Glory, Honor and Praise to God my Father. Amen!
Thus began for me a fervent search to find and attend regularly a church who preached from the Word exclusively. In a three week period, I visited several churches with my then six year old Sonya by my side. At that point, Randy was still feeling like church was not a necessity for him, but as for me I knew where I belonged and felt like time was slipping away. I really did feel such a sense of urgency with this…
Beginning in January of 2010 we began attending Waynedale Baptist as a family. A lot has happened in our family since; together the baptism of Randy, Sonya and me immersed in the baptismal waters July 11, 2010; the renewal of our wedding vows October 2, 2010; the beginning of finding our way to Cassie (once known as Zhong Feng Mei) December 5-13, 2010; traveling to China as a family to bring her home December 9-23, 2011. And with each and every step, I can see God's guiding Hand. Each step needed to take place before the one following it, and I know that I know that I know the Lord has lead us down the path He has chosen for our family. “Acknowledge God in all your ways, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6
So what have I learned from reading God’s Holy Word and attending a church that preaches and teaches the miracle-working, mountain-moving, awe-inspiring power of Jesus Christ? I have learned that the only thing which assures us of our eternal salvation is Christ alone. As Preacher likes to point out - church membership, tithing, baptism will not save us. Jesus Christ alone through His atoning blood will. This blood by which we become covered the second we repent and ask forgiveness for our sins, turning away from our old life and asking Jesus to be Lord and Savior from now on out. And when can we or when should we be saved? The Bible tells us the time is now. ...behold, now is the accepted time, behold, now is the day of salvation. II Corinthians 6:2.
Salvation is for all of us because we are all sinners. “Sinners”, “sin”, two words that used to sound like nails across a chalkboard to my ears- that is until, I realized my belief in karma was way worse because karma is simply sin stretched over a very long period of time with only one way of paying it off and that is through works. But the sin referred to in the bible is something we were born with and something we can never pay off on our own and furthermore it is impossible, due to the human condition, to ever live a sinless life. Only Jesus did that, and He was and is and always will be willing to take our sin from us and wash it clean. That is if we are willing to admit we cannot do it on our own and that we need a Savior and Lord to direct our steps.
As I read back on all that i have written regarding Jesus Christ, I can say for certain that I am a miracle, people, because the change of heart within me is nothing short of miraculous, I tell you! If, however, I could impress upon my readership just one thing about my journey back to Jesus it would be this – HE IS ALIVE! Jesus is alive, and we can walk with Him and we can talk with Him, and get this- He even cares about every little detail of our lives.
When I say I go to church; when I say God lead me and my family to church, I am not saying we got all “religious”. I am saying God lead us to a church that preaches from the Word and the Word is LIVING, and the Word is Life-Changing, and the Word is JESUS. I am talking about attending a church that teaches the Truth from the LIVING WORD and the simple truth is this - religion won’t get us to heaven only a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will. Going to church won't save us, remember? Jesus will save us. And the reason studying the bible and living out its simple truths will lead us to the Truth about Salvation through Christ Jesus is because the Word is Jesus on paper!
I've heard that Religion is man reaching up to God and trying to hold on; Yet RELATIONSHIP is God reaching down to us, grabbing ahold and never letting go. Religion, filled with rituals and a necessity for works while a relationship with Jesus involves letting go and letting Him through us perform works of an everlasting kind.
You know, when people would approach me way back when and tell me I was destined for hell unless I believed in their Jesus, and that my beliefs were silly or baseless or whatever, their intentions actually became a stumbling block to me coming to Jesus sooner. Nobody wants to be made to feel like they are on the “losing team”. But then there were others who would show me what the bible says about life and what it says about the world presently, and never did they point an accusing finger. Even though in truth I thought they were WRONG, their demonstrated kindness made a lasting impression. They showed me love and friendship. They were like Jesus to me.
So here’s the thing, if you are reading this now and you have never asked Jesus to come into your heart and life and change you inside and out, now is the time. Even if your life looks pristine and together to your neighbors, friends and colleagues but deep down you know you’re one step away from “losing it” or “falling into” a depression” or “going off” on your spouse again or drinking and drugging yourself into oblivion or chasing after the world while it keeps changing the rules on you or losing sleep at night for fear of tomorrow….then now is the time.
Simply call out to the Lord. Call out to Jesus and ask him to help you now. He will. I know He will. He always does. Tell Him you can’t do it alone and you’re sick of trying. Tell Him you are a sinner (yes, a sinner through and through) and that you want a fresh start and you need His help to do it. Then ask Him to forgive you for all that you have done against Him. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9.
Or...if you are reading this now and you believe your life is just FINE without Him, then do me a favor. Just imagine for a moment that you are DEAD WRONG. And call out to Him anyway. What do you have to lose? Call out to Jesus, and tell Him you are having trouble believing He is real. Tell Him the truth. Tell Him you would like to believe but do not know how or why. Ask Him to show you the how and the why of it all. Ask Him to "show up". If you are sincere, He will. In one way or another, He will show up for you and give you a chance to confess and repent and ask and accept Him into your life FOR GOOD. Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20
Now please open up your bible, or go purchase a bible, and read it. And find a Holy Spirit filled church to attend with your family. If your spouse won't go with you initially, load your kids up in the car this Sunday morning and go alone. As our daughter Cassie likes to say often, having been in America and with her forever family for less than four months now, “Wo ai church.” (I love church.)
Go to church.
Study His Word.
Let Jesus in.
Have assurance of eternal salvation.
Change your life.
God bless you today! Love, Cheryl