A salvation experience is different for everyone, and yet the same. For me it was a struggle getting past “religion.” On February 18th, 1996, a date I have etched in my mind, not only because it’s my Mother’s Birthday, but because that was my first service at Victory Baptist Church and my first time of feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit in a life altering way. But for the months to follow I sat in my seat, weeping, burdened and alone in my thoughts because I couldn’t tell the world what I knew. I was lost. I would often go to the altar, where I left my tears, but picked back up the burden. I was a church girl, (at another church), I had been a Sunday School Teacher, I had served in their Church youth ministries, but I was a faux believer. A faker. I knew the man Jesus, but not the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
The Defining Moment
Mark 8:27-38 KJV
 And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?  And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets.  And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.  And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.
Christ asked the disciples two questions: “Who do men say I am, and who do you say I am?” He asks us the same question. Because there comes a time when we each have to answer that question for ourselves. There’s more to Christ than just knowing His name. There’s a defining moment when you realize that He truly is the Son of God, and the breath in your body. He is the reason behind the purpose for your life. For me it came the summer of 1996. I don’t know the specific day, I just knew I once was lost, but now I’m found, and I was changed from head to toe. Every fiber in my body was created anew. My voice, my talents, my heart, my hands, and my feet. I had purpose that must be used for Him. There was a defining moment.
The Defining Years
Jesus had only a few years with the disciples. But my, my, my… what an impact He made. It took a few years for me as well before I felt the calling in my life. Bible study, Discipling and then Bible College and I knew, though I didn’t always feel confident, I felt compelled to share the gospel.
 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.  And he spake that saying openly.
What a strange thing to hear from the mouth of the Man who had become your friend and your hope. They had seen the miracles, they’d witnessed His power, but now He’s telling them He’s going to be killed? That no doubt made no sense. I’m sure that’s not good English, but it’s good reasoning. Because it didn’t make any sense to me either when I discovered the sweet Spirit of the Lord. Why on earth would anyone want to kill someone so marvelous? Every time I would hear or read of His crucifixion, my heart would break again. As a new convert I had much to learn about Jesus, and much to learn about mankind, who wasn’t so kind after all. Those defining years were filled with mentors.
The Definition of Denial
And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.  But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.  And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.  For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Peter didn’t understand. But Satan most assuredly did. And so he put the thought into Peter’s mind to question the Lord. Sound familiar? Have you ever questioned God on Who He is, and Why He does what He does, or allows what he allows? Just this week I did when a young child grew very ill very quickly and his parents are now in the process of telling him goodbye on this side, but Christ will welcome him on the other. But why Lord, Why does that have to be? And then I thought of the condition of this world, and all that child would be spared. And while I was sad for his parents and grandparents, I found peace in knowing that God was taking him away from the wickedness down here. When Christ told His ministry team to “deny” themselves and take up their own cross, it was a message for us as well, saying put yourself, and your desires aside. That’s tough. But its a necessity to get through the rough times down here. And it’s why our conversion doesn’t quit at the altar. While you are saved completely and immediately, your life is an ever learning journey through the Spirit of God.
The Day of Discovery
 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
I’ve made many, many, many trips back to the altar. It’s my place of solace in this troubled world, but it’s also my place of renewal and guidance. Too many altars are empty. Too many Christians stopped their visits to the altar at the time of their salvation and the price we’re paying in America is the result. But there will be a day of discovery on Who Christ is. And for many it will be too late. And for some it will be too little when they stand before God and He asks “What did you do for me?”
I guess I’m somewhere in the middle. I don’t ever feel like I’ve done enough, but I’m trying to discover what God wants me to do each day. If you’ve read my blog much, the story of my salvation is an old one. But for me it’s as good today as it was when I experienced it. I hope you find that in yours. The reason I shared it today was as a reminder of where I came from, and to remind me that there are expectations upon me from the Lord. Not for salvation, that was paid on the cross. But when God saved me, He didn’t pay that price for me to sit down and wait for the train to Heaven. Yes, this train is bound for glory! But I want to load my car with some friends along the way.
What’s your salvation story? Share it with me, share it with anyone. But that testimony is a part of your purpose.