I don't have an amazing conversion story but since I got saved I have had a strong sense of the presence of the Lord. The changes the Lord has brought about in my life are a great testimony to His love and His power to change the life of anyone who willingly submits to Him.
I was saved in 1994 at the age of 46. My wife brought a book home from church that I ignored for some time but I finally made the effort and read it. It was called Return From Tomorrow, by George Ritchie, and the writer told about how he was clinically dead for a few minutes and during that time Jesus showed him some of heaven and hell. My heart was pounding in my chest as I read about Jesus and I quickly read the book twice more. I couldn't wait to get to the part about Jesus. At the time, I didn't believe I was a sinner nor that I needed a Saviour but I sure did believe that Jesus was real so I went to a local church to get a Bible and it soon convinced me that I was a sinner and in great need of a Saviour. I was totally possessed by thoughts of God and after four years I quit my job and joined a missionary group in South Africa, with my wife and younger daughter, where I did the campsite maintenance for three years on their missionary training base. After that, I returned to Australia and worked for another missionary group doing building work and it was during that time that I lost all interest in practical work and the Lord laid evangelism on my heart. I was a shy person but I made a tract and walked the streets handing them out and talking to people about Jesus. After 3-4 years, the Lord made it clear that I was to stay at home and I had no idea why but I soon found myself making the web site you are now reading.
That is basically my conversion story but now I would now like to talk about the enormous changes Jesus has made in my life since then and, most importantly, how and why these changes came about. After I got saved I had a deep hunger to get close to the Lord but I didn't know how to do it and no one could tell me. It took about twelve years for me to find the secret in a book called The Calvary Road which is free to download from the link at the end of this article. I had read many, many books about walking with Jesus but none made it as simple and clear as this book. I can assure anyone that if they want a close walk with the Lord then read the book or follow the simple guidelines in my little article called The Way Of Peace (on my web site) which is basically a very short version of The Calvary Road.
The first amazing change that God made in my life was to deliver me from smoking and drinking. This occurred well before I knew how to walk closely with Jesus but, even though I didn't know it at the time, the change occurred exactly as outlined in The Calvary Road. As a matter of fact, all the changes the Lord makes in us follow the same pattern. Rather than write it all here, I have it on my web site in an article called The Power Of Sin and there you can read how the Lord eventually (and very painfully) delivered me from smoking and drinking. The two things I learned from this experience were
1) The Lord will only cleanse those who are truly repentant over their sin.
2) It is the Lord's power, and His power alone, that delivers and keeps us from sin.
The second outstanding change the Lord made in me was regarding my attitude toward a Christian lady whom I found hard to like. For quite some time I used to avoid her but one day I really lost my peace when the Lord heavily convicted me of this ongoing sin so I said something like, “Lord, it's wrong that I dislike my sister. Please help me to love her”. After this I went to visit her and as soon as I began speaking to her the Lord changed my heart. To my surprise, we became friends and I was at peace with her and with God. I know that I shouldn't have been surprised because God can do anything but it was very special to have God cleanse me of this sin and change my unloving, hard heart. This experience also occurred before I really knew how to walk with the Lord but when I finally got to understand how to listen to and follow Jesus, my mind went back to these experiences and they confirmed the way God works within us to lead us to repentance in order to be cleansed of sin (see Phil 2:12-13 and 1 John 1:9).
As well as smoking, drinking and an unloving attitude, the Lord has also delivered me from swearing, lying, stealing, jealousy, gossip and other sins that I won't mention but being delivered from shyness was a truly wonderful thing. I was so shy that I could hardly talk at Bible studies and I would not go to prayer meetings as I got a headache just thinking about it. I also used to get sick before mixing with people and was ashamed of the gospel but one day I got on my knees and, in tears, I said something like, “Christians are meant to live a victorious life but I am a defeated coward. If you want me to change then you will have to do it”. I felt no change but next day I met a friend in the city who was preaching on the footpath. When he finished, he asked me if I wanted a turn and with my Bible in one hand and a tract in the other I preached in the street and was as calm and confident as anyone could be – now THAT is the power of the Holy Spirit. I was set free and as John 8:36 says, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”.
Since quitting work in 1998, my wife and I have remained in the Lord's service. In Nov. 2010 I went to Malawi to work with a Pastor whom I had met through my web site and I hope to be able to continue visiting and working with those godly people for many more years.
My hope is that this short testimony makes it very clear that whenever we have no peace there is something wrong between us and God. The key to a close walk with the Lord is to let the Peace of God be our guide. If we aren't at peace then we should turn to God and ask why - He will soon tell us - and then we can repent of whatever it is and He will return our peace. As I have already mentioned, this is explained very simply in my little article called The Way Of Peace.
I am not being humble in the least, but entirely truthful, when I say that I am far from perfect but I have learned to look to God as soon as I am aware of any lack of peace. He has been absolutely faithful in telling me why He has taken my peace away and He is equally faithful in returning my peace when I repent. My wife will be the first to tell you that there are still some changes needed but she has no need to say anything really because the Lord is already telling me. On the other hand, she can also testify to the enormous changes that have occurred in my life and it has all been through the power of the Holy Spirit as we are told in 2 Pet. 1:3-4.
May the Lord bless you as you walk with Him.
The Calvary Road can be downloaded from http://www.christianissues.biz/revival.html
The Way Of Peace is at http://www.christianissues.biz/thewayofpeace.html
The Power Of Sin is at http://www.christianissues.biz/thepowerofsin.html