In the ’60s and early ‘70s, young Jimmy’s grandparents (and their entire extended family) just made no bones about it – Jesus is Lord and going to church at least three times every week was the way life was done! Grammy always loaded up a paper bag with bananas and animal crackers, as it was quite well established that Full Gospel church could last well into the afternoon, and children’s attention spans and stomachs just couldn’t last that long! And, there was no special children’s event in the back – the children worshiped (or wriggled) with their families in the main sanctuary. You see, Jesus was the center of this family’s being, despite shortages of money, the distractions of war (both cold and hot), hippies, space flights, rock-n-roll and all of the modern day issues or conveniences coming to bear on everyone’s lives (e.g., fast cars, instant foods, color televisions, the sexual revolution, etc.).
When Jimmy spent time with his grandparents, sometimes overnight, he’d see and participate in reading the bible and just couldn’t help but notice how loving they were – all of the time. Gospel music was always available on Grammy’s record player. Reading the bible or praying just didn’t seem to happen at Jimmy’s home, at least not unless someone was dying or something. Jimmy would go to summer bible school, and you know, the teachers made it really clear how important it was to love Jesus, read the bible, pray and to avoid sin. At least a couple times Jimmy felt his heart beating really fast as he walked to the front with the others to ask Jesus to be his Lord and Savior. Even though he didn’t fully appreciate what was happening, seed was being planted.
It was January 1, 1974, and Jimmy’s mom left home in the middle of the morning and then suddenly his dad come home from work. This was all quite strange. Jimmy’s dad sat all three brothers on the living room couch – you see, Jimmy was barely 12 years old and his two brothers were both even younger. Jimmy’s dad explained that he no longer loved their mother and would be leaving. For the first time ever, Jimmy heard words from inside himself, “now you’re the man of the family.” Jimmy was rocked when mom came home and cried uncontrollably in a chair, on Jimmy’s lap, who did his best to hold and comfort his beautiful momma.
Within a few days of this, Jimmy felt the need to be alone and he kept remembering what his grandmother had taught him about Jesus. He went to the family car sitting in the driveway and cried out to Jesus to save him. The bible says that Jimmy was saved right then and right there…but that’s not the end of the story.
As so many do, Jimmy had barely professed his love for Jesus and then, slowly but surely, slipped back into life in the world, more concerned about friends, music, fun, girls, grades and so forth. Jimmy’s love for music was a constant, and he was super blessed to eventually be accepted at a high caliber music college, where even though he often lived like the devil, almost every night he was prompted (by the Lord) to give thanks to God for the opportunity to be at school. You see, Jimmy knew deep down inside from where his blessings came. Despite Jimmy’s lack of wisdom and faithfulness, God remained faithful and patient!
After school and some time in the military as a musician, Jimmy became a federal law enforcement officer. He loved this job, but something deep down inside was bothering him. There was a hole, a sadness, something that eventually seemed to make him physically sick. At the time, Jimmy lived in Alamogordo, New Mexico. On a trip to document and collect evidence at an autopsy in Albuquerque, Jimmy was invited to stay with a military commander but decided it best to get a La Quinta hotel room, as the autopsy was first thing the next morning.
That night at the hotel, Jimmy turned on the TV and there was Pastor John Hagee. Pastor Hagee began preaching about the troubles of the day and that the only Answer was Jesus. Jimmy’s heart was struck and the next thing he knew, he was on his knees, right then and right there, praying the prayer of salvation (again, but with certainty). Jimmy’s life was changed. This was his “know-so” moment. Whether Jimmy was really born again in 1974 didn’t matter anymore, because in February of 1997, he most certainly was. It wasn’t until two or three weeks later when Jimmy realized he’d not tasted a sip of alcohol, nor even desired one! You see, not being an alcoholic is not a sign of success(!) when one considers that practically all of the times of regret or embarrassment in life were the result of, or associated with, drinking. Jimmy began to attend a Rhema Bible Church and reading the bible, and his life – though certainly not perfect – was forever changed by the King of Glory! Even Jimmy’s gift of music was now being used exclusively for giving worship and praise to God.
My brothers and sisters, Jimmy is me.
I thank Jesus for His love. He humbled Himself and came to the earth in human form to live out a sinless life and set an example for us all. Being fully God, yet fully man, He felt genuine pain and was tempted in every way, yet did not sin. Despite the fact He could have called upon the Father and been spared it all, He willingly did the Father’s will and died a horrible death upon the cross of Calvary so that by His blood, our sin was washed away and we would have eternal life in the presence of Almighty God. A gift freely given to us – but at what cost!
All we have to do is believe upon the name of Jesus. I pray that whatever you are doing right now, if you don’t know Jesus, or if like “Jimmy” you slid away from a solid relationship with Jesus, please take to your knees and tell the Lord how much you love Him and ask Him to be Your Lord and Savior. There are no special words needed. We are all made in the image and likeness of God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and then be sure to tell other(s) that you are now a child of God! Be sure to find a church and have fellowship with other believers. What a privilege it is to seek counsel and friendship with fellow believers!
2 Timothy 1:3-7 (ESV) – Paul Writes To Timothy…
“I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
John 14:6 (NKJV)
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”
John 3:16-18 (ESV)
“For God so loved the world, that [H]e gave his only Son, that whoever believes in [H]im should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through [H]im. Whoever believes in [H]im is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
Revelation 12:10-11 (ESV)
“And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘[n]ow the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of [H]is Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.’”
Praise Jesus forevermore!