Lucky to be Alive
I have been a Christian since 1989 and I thought that it's time that I share my salvation testimony with a few more people, such as those who visit my church's website. At times we can take our salvation for granted, and how the Lord has led us to this point.
I decided to follow the Lord when I was 17 ½ years old, "back home" on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides (also famous for having a spiritual awakening in 1949 - 52).
I have always believed in God, but thought that becoming a Christian was something I could do when I was 30 years old, married and with children and then "settle down" into a "religious and boring" life.
When I was about 16 years old, I went through a rebellious time in my life. I was looking for new experiences such as trying to get into pubs, wanting to smoke cannabis and other things. Since my mother was quite strict with our upbringing I was most of the time "not allowed" to go out on Friday or Saturday nights.
I was rebellious, and disliked my mothers strictness. I was looking for an escape. Then, "out of nowhere", I had the idea of sniffing solvents and with some friends sniffed petrol. After getting "high" a few times, and "escaping" the present I then started inhaling butane gas.
"out of nowhere", I had the idea of sniffing solvents
Inhaling butane gas went on for a number of months, and during this time there were at least five instances while sniffing gas that I fell unconscious. In other words five times when I could have died as a result of the oxygen getting stopped from reaching my brain.
There was one instance while I was with my cousin that I "tripped out" and began to chase him around in my fathers shed with a wood working chisel. After falling unconscious outside and waking up, my cousin began to shout at me and tell me to "stay away" from him, as I had run after him and tried to attack him. The look of fear in his eyes was enough to make me aware that something serious had happened.
After this incident I began to realise that I had better stop inhaling all this gas etc... But there was still no sign of me seeking God, but rather seeking other pleasures.
It wasn't until I was 17 ½ years old that one day while looking forward to my 18th birthday party and being "free" from home, that the Lord began to convict me and make me realise that I was a sinner. I knew that I had to make a decision to either follow God or to carry on living my own life. Well, needless to say, I "pushed" the conviction away with thoughts such as "what will my friends think if I become a Christian so young" and "I'm too young to become a "religious" Christian anyway”.
I "pushed" the conviction away and at that time I thought "that was it", but I was still feeling a bit uncomfortable. THANKFULLY a few weeks later, the same conviction came back to me, but this time I knew deep down that this may be my last chance to decide to follow God. After weighing up the "pros and cons" of things like "what will my friends at school think" etc., I decided to follow God. Basically, what I did was get on my knees and ask God to come into my life.
For the next few months I went to church regularly, read my Bible, gave up drinking, smoking and seeking after other worldly pleasures. But I still felt that somehow there was something was missing!
I still felt that somehow there was something was missing!
When I was nearing my 18th birthday, I went down to see my brother, who had moved to Glasgow, and who had decided to follow God about 18 months before that.
Upon seeing him I excitedly told him that I was now a Christian. His response was "are you sure?" , Well this got me thinking, and asking myself "what does he mean by that? - Of course I am!!”
Later that day, my brother and some other friends from the church showed me some scriptures in the Bible about what else I had to do to obey God, IF I wanted to follow Him 100%. These were scriptures such as MARK 16:16-20, ACTS 2:37-42 and JOHN 3:3-7. Basically these are scriptures that show anyone who wants to follow God according to the Bible that they MUST get baptised by full immersion and receive the ‘infilling of the Holy Spirit', with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. To put it simply when you receive the ‘infilling of the Holy Spirit' you receive a unique prayer language from God that you can use to communicate with him. One scripture that helped further explain this to me is in ROMANS 8:26-27.
Well, since I was still slightly skeptical about the scriptures that my brother and his friends had shown me, I waited until my brother was out of the house. I then compared my Bible with his Bible, since these were scriptures that neither my minister "back home", nor anyone else had ever shown me.
Sure enough, as I began to compare both Bibles, I found that the scriptures my brother had shown me were also in my Bible. Since I wanted to follow God, I knew that this was another step that I had to take in order to continue to please God and deepen my relationship with Him.
So, shortly after my brother came back home I asked one of the deacons to lay hands on me so that I could receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. We had a time of prayer, but I must say the first time when I heard my brother and some of the others from the church "pray in the Spirit" or "in other tongues", part of me wanted to run out of my brother's apartment. But knowing that it was all in the Bible, and that it was true, I decided to stay.
The deacon then laid hands on me, and prayed that I would receive the Holy Spirit. Within a short time, I then received the Holy Spirit, and prayed to God "in other tongues". The "emptiness" or "knowing that there was something missing" that I had felt while I was sincerely following God back home was somehow gone.
That night, thinking that we would be a bit adventurous, we went to the local "man made" lake in the hope that I could get baptised there. But, since it was winter time, they must have been doing some maintenance work there, because there was very little water (which was better for me because it was freezing). So, the following morning I got baptised in the local swimming pool.
This all happened on November 24th (received the Holy spirit) & 25th (baptised by full immersion), 1989, and I must say that since then, by God's grace I have "never looked back" and have been going on in the Lord "through good times and bad times", and have seen the hand of God work very often in my life.
I also know that when I was 17 ½ years old, I was sincere in my decision to follow God, but thankfully I didn't reject the next step that I had to take in order to have a closer relationship with Him and obey His Word. That is to be "filled with His Spirit" and to get "baptised by full immersion", which sadly many people reject, thinking that it was only for the disciples, or for the followers of Jesus ‘back then' 2000 years ago, but it clearly states in the Bible in HEBREWS 13:8 that “
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever”.
...are missing out on developing their relationship with God...
I can only assure anyone who is sincerely seeking the Lord; but has not yet taken these other steps to receive the Holy Spirit with the evidence of "praying/speaking in other tongues", and being baptised by "full immersion", that they are missing out on developing their relationship with God, and more importantly, they are not obeying one of God's commandments as instructed in His Word.
I definitely haven't looked back since then, and by God's grace, want to go on and see many more people getting saved into His kingdom, before the Lord returns as promised in 2 PETER 3:10-14.
Praise God, David.
For more information about the revival that took place in the Outer Hebrides please click here.