donderdag 26 december 2013

Hell closed, heaven open .... by grace, through faith!

'After we have prayed, we asked you to pray'.
'I don't know; I am not familiar with loud praying for myself'.
They prayed, calling to heaven and pleading for the throne of an almighty, an omniscient and an all-seeing God.
Then I prayed; I forgot my objections from several minutes before.
In the same way as they did, I called to that heavenly God and prayed the shortest sinner's prayer ever.
'O God.... be merciful to me a sinner'.
Direct afterwards there happens something wonderful. 
Suddenly I prayed: 
'I believe, help You (Thou) my unbelief'.

Then and there ended a 35 years long spiritual journey of seeking salvation for my soul. It started when I was approximately 21 years old. God touched my soul by His Holy Spirit so that I knew that I couldn't die as I was born. There had to be forgiveness for all the sins I had committed. My debts should be payed! I was weeping in the nights on my bed because of my unrighteousness for God but didn't find salvation. 

I started to read old sermons from preachers long times ago and to read testimonies of children of God. I went to their meetings to find rest for my soul but it didn't help me. I started to live conform the law and tried to do everything it requires. Some periods I got rest from keeping the rules, the traditions and the 10 Commands. I thought I was laboring in that way for the meat that endured unto everlasting live but I didn't really understand that the Son of Man was willing to give me that for freeI was thrown upon myself, upon my own good works and deeds. 

In meanwhile I married, got children, did my job as a fire commander and lived the live like everybody on this earth. Tried to be a good father, husband, churchgoer and firefighter. In a natural way I lived correctly in my own view but the natural way of living is connected with the unseen world of the eternal spiritual live. The longings, deep in my innermost being, wanted a relation with the living God. 

I was once, before I married, in a violent building fire and was extinguishing that fire on the third floor. Alone with my self containing breathing apparatus and a fire-hose. My brother, also a firefighter, was in the staircase of this building to supply the fire-hose. And suddenly there, in the midst of the flames around me, was the thought in my mind that hell was such a place as this pool of fire. 

During my spiritual journey at a certain moment I realized that all my own righteousness are as filthy rags and that I was unable to reform my live. I remember that I was standing and leaning against my house around the year 2000 and that God by His Holy Spirit came to reveal me that I was born to sin. Although I tried to avoid sin (and sinful thoughts) with all my power and own strength, it was useless because I couldn't keep the law of God (condemned to sin). Afterward I learned that Scripture said in Romans 8 verse 7: 'Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be'. I felt like a wicked who is like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt (Isaiah 57 verse 20).

A feeling of helplessness felt then and there upon me. So the last decennial of my journey started; full of growing internal unrest. Always defeated by satan who had blinded me for the way of salvation. He blocked my way to God by doctrinal thoughts and unbelief. The thinking about death multiplied, also stimulated what I experienced in my job; I saw a lot death people. Besides that I myself saw a lot of times in the face of the death but there was a power stronger than satan that's prevented me from dying in fires and accidents. 

Then in 2002, after reading a book about the complex way of getting salvation in my denomination, I suddenly understood that Jesus was the only way to salvation. Perhaps I have heard this for many times and many years but now it was enlightened by God, The Holy Spirit. As result of that in the last years before my repentance in 2007, I looked for Jesus in all churches in the neighborhood of my city. I couldn't find Him. 

The last months and weeks were almost unbearable, I remember. Hopeless, restless, stronger bound by bosom sins then ever. At a certain Sunday I was listening to an audio message from a pastor during a youngster meeting. In his sermon he declared my hopeless spiritual position and told that Jesus was knocking at the door of my heart. It touched my soul so deeply that I bursted out in tears. He stood there at the outside, knocking and I heard His voice loud and clear. He invited me to open the door but where was the knob of the door? 

Jesus wants to come in our lives... for ever!

I became now without any hope, so close and so unreachable. Almost salvation ....... and still lost. Inward desperately I went on vacation with my family to France. Complete tired of the lost position of my longing soul and at the other hand the growing sensibility in my conscience for the fact that I was sinner against a living God. At one hand I longed to righteousness and at the other hand satan kept the prison of darkness closed.  

On the vacation park I met a pastor, talked with him about my seeking and declared the position of my soul. I remember the first words I spoke to him: 'I look for Jesus but I cannot find Him'. We talked about my seeking, about the convincing work of Holy Spirit and about the fact that feelings are not the same as believing faith. Then he supposed to pray with me and asked me to pray after they had prayed. I prayed then that wonderful prayer that the Holy Spirit hands me over like a apple of gold on a silver dish

I stood up and walked back to my vacation house, felt changed deep in me but couldn't gave words to it. The next morning I went jogging and took 'automatically' my Bible with me (I never did that before). After a while I rested against a rock and opened my Bible and read Ephesians 2 verse 8: 'For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God'. This was the explanation of what had happened the day before: I believed! My heart was full of still rest and my soul had received deep peace like Agustin expresses so beautiful: 'Restless is our heart.... Oh God ....until it finds rest in You!' Hell closed for ever and heaven opened immediately. I received eternal live. 

O... Glory to the Lamb .... that has leaded my by His Holy Spirit. The Spirit never went away from me although I was sinning so much. Always He did the convincing work in my heart and stimulated me to seek salvation and redemption. I wept tears about my sins but tears couldn't save me. I lived outward a decent life but in my heart was a mass, it stayed cold and hard. God looks to the heart, isn't He? The outside live couldn't save me from the white judgement throne, only righteousness saves from the death. Keeping rules, traditions and the 10 Commands..... the works of the law couldn't justify me for God.

O ... Glory to the Lamb that leads me to the saving faith, the key, the knob of the door to salvation. The payment for my debts is the blood of the Lamb that washed away my sins, without blood shedding no redemption. However the way to that blood for redemption, the entry to salvation, the entrance to the narrow gate of eternal live, is the knocking on the door, the bell ringing or inputting the pin code. When doing so with trust, the narrow gate will be opened. Even when there is still a certain unbelief in the faith-surrendering, the gate will opened. Think of Jesus Who healed the moon-sick youngster although the father prayed in tears: 'I believe but help You my unbelief'.

So listen ...... 

"souls that are kept in doctrinal unbelief". 
"souls that are kept and bounded in sins, behind brass doors and steel chains".
"men and women, married or not, that tried to keep the commands".
"people in high positions in religious organisations, pastors or housewives kept in secret sin". 
"youngsters that are so involved in sexual sin that your inward live is corrupt although you keep the orders of your father, mother and pastor".

Listen and come, there is great Hope, there is a Redeemer, Jesus Christ! When your position is like described in Psalm 107: 'Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron; Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High: Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help'. 

Cry to the Lord like they did: 'Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble..... 

And He answered and saved from all need: '.....and he saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder'.

Jesus, the Son of God, is always, day and night, knocking on the door of your heart. His Spirit, God The Holy Spirit, is always, day and night, willing to enlighten your blinded mind and to lead you to Jesus Christ. God the Father is always, day and night, willing to justify you, based on the payments of
Calvary, the blood of His Son Jesus. Come....when you have heard His voice, let Him leading you. Now is the time, Jesus has paid the price! Don't hesitate and belief! It is impossible to suit yourself for God, it isn't even necessary because He is seeking sinners and those who cannot hold their live in their own hands. He didn't come for righteous men or women in themselves. He don't want sacrifices but to prove mercy!

I was a secret sinner like you. I tried to improve myself for so many years but stayed death in sin and trespasses. Now I live like John Newton wrote in his song: "Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I am found, was blind but now I see!"

Post Scriptum. I know there are hundred thousands of people, perhaps a million worldwide in the (Dutch) Reformed denominations, that are bounded in sins and blinded by satan although their decent outward living. I have so much pity on them (because of my own past) that my heart is crying to God to come down with His Spirit. That His power opens the brass doors and breaks the iron chains, especially for those who lives their religious lives in Canada.

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