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Currently Browsing: This Is My Story

Kidnapped!

The old Ford jostled from side to side along a lonely unpaved stretch of road in upstate South Carolina. The cramped quarters of the trunk space were made even more confining by the presence of the gas tank. Those hangers had rusted off several years before.  My friend, George, had kindly given me this “rust belt trophy.”  The old ’64 Ford served me well, and I had no serious problems with the tank in the trunk—until tonight.

As a newlywed, I was training for the ministry and working second shift in a nearby factory. One January night in 1972, I was stopped at a railroad crossing. I hardly noticed three men in the shadows until one of them opened the passenger door and said, “Goin’ that way?” motioning toward the plant. I said, “Yes.”  They climbed in, and I drove. Then I felt the cold steel of a muzzle against my neck and heard the unmistakable “click” of the safety switch of a semi-automatic handgun. “Not that way. Go straight!” The gunman in the back seat, a teenager, did most of the talking. I complied.

Other victims of crime will well understand the adrenalin rush. I thought of everything from using karate to jumping out of the car. “If you guys were Christians, you wouldn’t be doing this,” I managed to say. Unhappy with my response, they grunted and cursed.
During that ride, the three men repeatedly threatened my life. I was resigned to die if that was God’s will.  When one of the men said, “Stop the car and get out,” I thought, surely this was my “appointed time.”(1)
At age fifteen, I had faced the fact that I had sinned against the “glory of God.”(2)  I understood that the remedy for my rebellious heart was not self-reformation or culture or even religion. I needed the remedy that God clearly sets forth in the Bible. I needed Jesus! As the Bible says, the “wages” for my sin is death.  The rest of the verse says, “…but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” (3) But just knowing these facts will not give us eternal life. One must RECEIVE that promised GIFT.(4) When I truly understood the Gospel (good news) of God, I accepted God’s Son as my personal Savior. He saved me, changed me, and made me ready for Heaven.

Listen to the interviews with Gordon Terpening (below)

That night, I truly thought I was going to Heaven. (more…)

In My Seat

Take a few moments to watch this powerful story of the American Airlines pilot who was supposed to fly Flight 11 on that fateful morning, September 11, 2001
from Boston’s Logan International airport.

What would it be like to know that someone took your seat on that day of hellish tragedy?

This Is My Story: Laura Lindwall

It’s strange how God could use a jungle gym and a tomato allergy to bring me to the assurance that I would go to heaven when I died. But He did just that. When my family entered a Bible church for the first time, I was eight years old and unaware that I needed God.

During Sunday school in that Bible church, I learned for the first time that my soul, as a sinner, would go to hell when I died, for the “wages of sin is death.” I knew in my eight-year-old heart that it was the truth. I remember thinking how odd that I had never heard this before. I thought about this news that because I was a sinner and God is holy, I needed to personally ask Him to be my Savior. I also learned that Jesus had died for me, was buried, and rose from the dead so that I could have a personal relationship with Him. All I had to do was accept His “gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.” Admitting that I could not get to heaven on my own, I just needed to humble myself, ask Him to save me from hell.

The part that I found difficult

Soon after that Sunday school lesson, I told God that I believed all that was true. The part that I found difficult was admitting to others that I wanted this salvation. Since I was a fearful child, I did not want to tell anybody that. I really should have talked to somebody so that I could get some biblical instruction and assurance that I was truly saved. Instead I just let everybody think that I was already a born again believer.

But God knows our weaknesses, and He helped me. Two years later my mom sent me to our church’s camp. I enjoyed every minute of that week; in fact, I wanted to take my camp counselor home with me. The speaker of the week focused on the events of the last days. Once again I knew that I needed to talk to somebody about salvation so that I could have assurance that I was going to heaven, and once again I was too scared.

“I want to know”

This is where the tomato allergy and jungle gym come in. I was allergic to tomatoes, but I ate the spaghetti dinner that night anyway. That night in bed I became rather sick, but I was still too much of a little chicken. I was too scared to wake my counselor. She heard me groaning though and took me to the nurse. Afterwards we sat on the jungle gym, and she asked me if I knew for sure that I was on my way to heaven. I said “No, but I want to know.” I told God that I knew that I was a sinner and could do nothing to get to heaven on my own. I asked Him to forgive me. I wanted His free gift of salvation. He gave me eternal life and saved my soul from hell.

Perhaps you are as I was at the age of eight, knowing that this is the truth, yet resisting it. Will you accept it so that you do not have to go to hell to pay for your sins? God has to punish sins just as an earthy judge punishes criminals. People may think that since God is love, he will not send people to hell; He is love, but He is also holy. He must judge sin. Can you imagine an earthly judge saying to a murderer, “Since I love you, I will let you go”? No, the judge punishes the crime. The amazing thing about God is that He sent His perfect Son to take the punishment of our crimes, our sins. Jesus died for us and then rose from the dead. All we need to do is believe. It’s not too good to be true; it’s good and it’s true because God is good and God is true!

“For if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and will believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart man believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation. For whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-10, 13)

To read and listen to more stories, click here.

This Is My Story: Jan Milton

Click the player here to listen to an interview with Rev. Jan Milton, who leads Operation Renewed Hope.

To learn more about Operation Renewed Hope, click here.

Audio Interview: This Is My Story

This Is My Story: Mary Haley

The neighbor had seen him run the same stop sign many times. One evening as usual the farmer was drunk and as usual he ran the stop sign, but this time there was a car approaching with a mother, a father, and two young children inside. I am that mother, and this is my story of how God led me to Himself.

I thank the Lord for the many blessings in my life. I was born on April 1, 1926 along with my twin brother John. I also have two sisters still living and another brother that has already passed. We had a good life growing up in Ohio, but we also had some hard times during the Depression.

When I was young, my father moved us around a lot, farming different areas. I had five unmarried aunts; the three that had jobs saw that my siblings and I all had clothes to wear. They would also see that we got to Sunday school and church every week. This is when I first read John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Later when I was a teenager, my mother played the piano and organ at the Blanchard church; we would walk there each week. I was young when I married. My husband and I went to a little church over by Forest once in awhile. We had two boys; Johnny was my first born, and Donnie came along a year and a half later.

Then the accident happened. We were taking a ride one Wednesday evening near Riley Creek Church and a farmer was driving down the road and ran a stop sign. He had been drinking and ran into us. My husband, Bob, went through the window and was killed instantly. Two-year-old Johnny was standing between us and hit the dash. His chest was crushed, and he died the next morning. I was holding Donnie who was six months old. He had broken his leg and was placed in traction at Bluffton Hospital. My head was cut, and I spent a few days in the hospital as well. I went to Bob and Johnny’s funeral in the ambulance.

We had never heard about salvation… (more…)

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