Tag Archives: prayer

The Story Of My Life – Part 2: Is There Really A God?

In my last post I shared how I became a Christian, but the story is not really complete without adding what happened when I was 18, as I went through a sudden onset of doubts. I hope that many of my questioning friends will read this!

A few months later I started experiencing a massive amount of doubts about Christianity. This was probably partly due to the fact that I had suddenly committed my life to Christ far more radically and so the need for me to be sure that it was all true was more than ever before. But also I expect the devil didn’t want me to be that committed and tried to dislodge me. For about three months I went through constant doubts.

Every time I went to a public place I would look around and think, ‘I’m sure all these people don’t believe in God, so how can it be true?’. Interestingly, the next year I went on a mission trip to London with an outreach team, and walked up to a lot of complete strangers to talk to them about God. And I was surprised to find that probably 95% actually did believe there was a God! They just don’t have a sign on them saying that they do 😉

I decided to sit down and work out why it would be true. Here are the things that finally convinced me:

  • There were so many people I knew that were very practical and intelligent and believed it. Men and women – my dad being the main person in my mind. I’m not sure if I know anyone more practical and realistic than him, apart from my husband!
  • There is clearly evil in the world, seen in the occult, so there must be supernatural stuff going on, and it follows that there must be good if there is evil.
  • Creation is so amazing – little did I know then of the wonders of pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding which has made it even more amazing to me! And I couldn’t see how anyone in their right mind could believe it had evolved!
  • I have had so many miraculous answers to prayer. As a child and teenager the kind of things I prayed about were not earth shaking – but enough for me to see that God cared about me and heard my prayers and answered them miraculously. I distinctly remember one day in secondary school when I could not find my French textbook anywhere! I needed it for school that day, and if I couldn’t find it I would get a detention. I had NEVER got a detention so I was super-scared of that. I had searched my room for ages and had to leave for school. I was so stressed, then I threw up a quick prayer, ‘Father please help me find my textbook’. I looked up from closing my eyes in prayer, and it was right there IN FRONT OF ME!! It was in the middle of a pile of books on top of my piano, and I hadn’t seen it. That was just too obviously God (and his sense of humour). I have also had lots more amazing answers to prayer beside that one.

There are many other reasons to believe in God – but these are the ones that helped me to be sure of my faith. So God brought me through these doubts and out on the other side, which resulted in my faith being much stronger! And I have had a wonderful experience of life with God beside me, helping me, guiding me, encouraging me, and just being there for me. If you would like to know more, please e-mail me – rhodajane at gmail.com – or visit this website which explains how to know God, and answers frequently asked questions about God.

If you are a Christian and were convinced about the truth of Christianity by other ways, it would be great if you could comment and share – maybe it will help someone who is still uncertain!

The Story Of My Life – Part 1: A Sinner Saved By Grace

 I was recently reminded of the powerful influence of a personal testimony, so I thought I’d share mine in the hope that it will show how God has worked in my life.

I have always been in a Christian family and attended Bible teaching churches, so I think from the beginning I took Christianity almost for granted as part of my life. Though I know I was born a sinner and not a Christian, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in and love God. I think when I became a Christian I was around 3 to 5 years old. I remember asking my mum how to become a Christian. She said something like ‘repent and believe’ i.e. you need to turn from your sinful ways to God and say sorry for the wrong things you have done, and have faith in Jesus Christ to save you. After she said that I remember praying to God and saying I was sorry for doing wrong and asking Him to forgive me and save me. I kept repeating it just to make sure! I also used to keep my monkey with me every night so that he could come with me to heaven if Jesus came back suddenly! When I was in infant school I used to tell my classmates about God. Unfortunately I got put off doing this by primary school since I was bullied a lot and called ‘Bible basher’, so I kept to myself more.

When I was 9 I heard a sermon preached on baptism, saying that Christians should get baptised. I then asked my Dad if there was any chance of getting baptised because it was obviously something I should do. As a result of that, my brother and I had several classes with the senior elder, where we went through the meaning of Christianity and of baptism. At the age of 10 I was baptised. Around that age I started going into the main church service in the mornings, instead of the Sunday School. I used to always take a notebook and write notes from the sermons to help me to listen and give me something to do. My aim each service was to get our visiting preacher to smile at me, so I would sit in the front row and grin widely at him whenever he looked my way – I usually managed to get a smile back!!

When I was about 15, a young people’s Bible study was started up. It was very practical, and although I knew I sinned, I don’t think that I had previously realised quite how much. So I began to make a real effort to improve spiritually in my everyday life. When I was 16, my mum came back to church and I started going through the M’Cheyne Calendar with her – we would both read the 4 chapters a day and then write down our favourite verses and compare, which was always fun. We also moved to Kent and went to a church where there was really good preaching and fellowship and a lot of Christian young people. It was wonderful because I started to really look forward to every Sunday. Instead of God being just one part of my life, He became much more central.

When I was 18 the most major turning point in my Christian life happened. I was reading some easy-to-read biographies of Christians and gradually progressed into ones that had more depth to them. I read Isobel Kuhn’s biographies, Hudson Taylor’s and then Amy Carmichael’s. This last one really inspired me, and I resolved that I wanted to give every part of my life totally to God, to try and do His will in everything. I also started to really want to do fulltime Christian work when I was older. Well I wasn’t perfect from then on of course, but my whole attitude to life had changed – I wanted to please God in everything I did and really tried to put that desire into practice. This change also resulted in me having a big sort-out! I looked at different things I did, and tried to think whether they were pleasing to God. I threw a lot of novels out, lots of films, and lots of CDs. I decided I was spending too much time thinking about how much I wanted a boyfriend, and the romantic music I was listening to, the films I watched, and the books I read were not helping – so I got rid of them all!! And it had a great effect, as it really did help me to get my mind off that way of thinking. As a result of reading Isobel Kuhn’s biography I also committed to spending an hour with God every day, which again had an enormous impact on my life.

The scary thing about my story is that I have been so blessed by being brought up in a Christian home with loving and prayerful parents that I have more responsibility as a result. ‘For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.’ Luke 12:48

How I Learned To Forgive

I’m not anywhere near perfect in this area yet but there was a definite time in my life when I learned a big lesson in forgiveness, and went from wanting to kill someone to being able to smile at and talk to them, knowing I had forgiven them, and it changed how I forgave people from then on. Here is my story, with specifics about the situation left out.

Quite a number of years ago there was a man that caused something that hurt me so much that I cried every night for weeks on end. It wasn’t a horrific abuse or anything criminal, thankfully, but it was something that was very hard for me emotionally. I was so upset, hurt, and angry that I really wanted to kill him! I must have felt like this for a long time, because I think it wasn’t till about a year later when I was reading my Bible that I came across something that hit me hard. I want to make a plug here for reading through the whole Bible (I have followed the M’Cheyne Calendar for over 15 years now) – I really don’t know how long it would have taken for me to be convicted on this situation if I hadn’t been reading like that.

The part I was reading at the time was Joseph’s story in Genesis. Joseph had been sold into slavery by his brothers, which then led to him being cast into jail in Egypt. Of course he did get out of there and ended up 2nd in command in the entire country of Egypt, but many people in that situation would have been bitter and resentful. But what Joseph said to his brothers, and this is what stabbed at my heart, was, ‘You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.’ Genesis 50:20. He forgave them and realised God had a purpose in all of it. I was convicted that I should not be holding this in my heart against this man, feeling bitter, angry and resentful. And even though this man had not repented I felt strongly that God was telling me I needed to forgive him anyway.

So then I thought, ‘How?’. I felt so angry still that it was hard to think I even could. So I prayed that God would help me to forgive him. Later on that day or the next day, I can’t quite remember, I was still praying and thinking about it, and then I just felt that it was OK again. I didn’t feel mad, and I felt like I had forgiven him – God had answered my prayer. But of course this was all in my thoughts – how did I know that it wouldn’t be different if I actually saw him in person? So I prayed that God would give me an opportunity to meet him and talk to him, so that I could know in my heart that I had forgiven him – crazy I know, but I just felt I wanted that assurance!

Anyway, the amazing thing is that the very same day I got an e-mail from a friend asking me to come to an event which he would be at, and I hadn’t seen him for at least a year! So of course I accepted, in fear and trembling. Then when it came time for the event, I prayed that I would have a chance to talk to him and be friendly so I would know that my heart was right, and again God answered my prayer and though neither of us brought up the issue from the past, I smiled and was friendly and I knew everything was OK. And it was a wonderful feeling to not have those feelings against someone anymore!! And what’s funny is that years down the line I can understand a lot more why he did what he did anyway, I just didn’t see all that at the time.

I want to encourage you if you have something against someone not to wait for them to ask for forgiveness but to forgive them in your heart anyway. And also to remember that love keeps no record of wrongs, and covers over sins. While some things that people do mean that wisely we should steer clear of them in the future or do certain things differently, we can still forgive them. And true forgiveness means doing your best to forget it and not bring it up again anymore, just like God: ‘As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.’ Ps 103:12 – an amazing verse.