I used to live in the dark and love sin!
Shocking isn’t it?
Martin before......and after meeting Jesus...
But I was like a lot of people, I believed in God, but did nothing with that belief. I didn’t want to give up all the enjoyable things in life and become pompous and a kill-joy! If I didn’t hurt anyone on purpose, I would be ok. I even prayed, sometimes, so that would help surely?
...still imagining himdelf next down from an angel...
Enter the Alpha course.
Three times I was invited to attend an Alpha course. In the end, I went on an Alpha Course 3 years ago and encountered Jesus.
Martin met Jesus through the Alpha course...
What happened next...
- The first year after my conversion, I was like a baby crawling on the floor. It was all very new and I didn’t know how to progress or what needed to be done. I met Jeff at work and he prayed for me a few times and got me to pray out loud (scary), and inspired me with his Faith. Lots of other Christians inspired and gently encouraged me.
- I prayed for fast tracking as I wanted to make up for lost time. The Lord kept telling me to wait upon His timing and to trust him. At the end of the 1st year I was baptised, but my Holy Spirit connection was tenuous.
- I went on an away weekend with my church (Bridge Community church in Bristol), and after being prayed for there I really felt the Holy Spirit in me. I started to ask Jesus to give me courage and gifting. I had never prayed out loud in a service; I asked Jesus, and a friend prayed for it for me, and soon after I prayed out loud in the service! Now it seems like second nature!
The second year I was like a toddler...
... first the unsteady steps, falling over, getting up to try again. Slowly I got more gifts. Talking in tongues came early – just for me – barely audible to someone standing next to me! I had some images pop into my head and several time felt the Spirit prompt me to share – but I didn’t have the courage, except in Community group – not in church! Not me!
I was not worthy or good enough. Not Christian enough to be given the word of God to share!
But...The Spirit kept gently prompting. And I read words in the bible and other books and the word for today – that told me anyone in Christ can be used to deliver God’s words and carry out His will! So I eventually shared an image with our congregation! Oh happy day!
Now it seems like second nature!
I learnt how to pray for others, prophesy for others, and pray for healing for others.
At the beginning of my 3rd year in Christ, I had a change in my circumstances. It slowly became evident that my job was under threat – I might be made redundant! At the same time the Lord prompted me to give more to the needy.
The third year was like being put on a bike and pushed down hill!
I prayed for strength and peace over the next 3 months and for a job! I was truly sorry for my sins and asked Jesus to forgive my trespasses and to help me forgive those that trespassed against me, and I meant it. From that time onwards I became much more sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and can feel the comfort and joy being given.
In March I was listening to UCB radio when I got prompted to consider how I was dealing with my reverse in fortune. I looked back into my past and realised that when I had faced adversity I had relied upon anger and the belligerence it spawned to help me through. The Lord then told me that this was not an option now and this was one of the lessons I needed to learn to grow in my maturity in Him. I stood and smiled – filled with the joy of true knowledge and the pleasure of hearing the Lord. I applied for a lot of jobs outside of my company, and one internal. I prayed that through this time and in interviews I would honour the Lord and not pander to the world. I felt and knew that the Lord had a plan for me – "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.
I was sent my redundancy letter and it appeared that I would be out of work. I was given 30 days consultancy – and 3 days before I was due to become redundant, my existing company offered me another job! I accepted.
All the other jobs I had applied for would mean working away from home all week. Coincidence? No! Because the job I took meant would be working away from home all week. The Lord had prepared me.
My first few weeks in my new job were full of tension and confrontation – I asked the Lord to give me peace and help me to reflect His Grace. He made my paths straight and helped me to forgive those that trespassed against me! I have learnt a lot in the last 6 months about turning the other cheek, not complaining about others, not gossiping, but most of all trusting Jesus!
I was sent - 2 Corinthians 12: verse 9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" by the spirit, just when I needed it most one day. My working away only lasted 6 weeks and I now work from home, but the new contracts I work on have been full of testing times too.
We had a prayer week towards the end of the year and I asked one of my brothers to pray that I might have the courage to speak out loud in tongues in public! Audible to other people! The next day at the 1st prayer meeting of the week – I prayed out loud in tongues, it was immediately interpreted. How wonderful is that? I have since prayed out loud in a service and it was immediately interpreted, again. I am not saying it is second nature – but if the Spirit prompts I will not be so scared anymore!
In January this year I had a vision of the Cross. Burned into it was FAITH on the right hand cross bar (as I looked at it), TRUST on the left hand cross bar, HOPE was burnt into the top part (pointing to heaven), and LOVE was burnt into the bottom half of the upright. The message that came to me for sharing with everyone in church was:
- We need to have FAITH in Jesus
- We need to TRUST in Him
- Our HOPE points to Him in Heaven
- And it is all based upon LOVE.
On the 17th of February, I was talking to a man in the sauna at my Gym and he has had a lot of operations on his back, neck, throat and shoulders. I had told him before that I would pray for him, but this time as he told me that his arm hurt so much he couldn’t lift it over his shoulder to do the backstroke...I was prompted to ask if I could pray for him there and then, he said ok, and I prayed for healing for him. This is the first time I have prayed for a non believer with them present. It wasn’t as scary as I had feared, because? The Spirit moved me and kept me safe! Isn’t that a wonderful gift for me? My friend told me he had no belief in God and thought that we had been put here by spacemen. I saw him a week later and his arms and legs were better but he had severe back pain. I promised to go on praying for his back to get better, and he said that he prays himself sometimes! He has told me recently that he is “getting there” and for the first time ever I saw him smile. Thank you Lord!
I have travelled a long way since my conversion and I am greedy for more! I pray to the Lord to use me more for his will and He answers “In time I will”.
Thank you for listening.
You were listening, weren’t you?
The third yesr it feels like I'm CYCLING DOWNHILL...