Monday, April 6, 2015

Jesus Died For Me

April 6th was also a Monday 56 years ago in 1959.  That afternoon I went to a children's meeting at my church led by several men from Word of Life Ministries and heard the story of Jesus' crucifixion for the first time.   My six-year-old heart was broken as I realized what Jesus went through to pay for my sin, and I started to cry--to weep, really.

The men leading the meeting that day promised to tell us later in the week how we could ask Jesus to forgive our sins, and I only cried harder because I didn't want to wait.

When I got home I asked my 15-year-old brother if he knew how I could ask Jesus to forgive me.  Knowing my father was antagonistic toward the gospel, my brother cupped his hands around my ear and, in furtive whispers, told me all I needed to do was tell Jesus I was sorry and ask Him to take away my sins.  So I went into my bedroom, knelt down by my bed and prayed.  I remember that immediate feeling of peace.  I knew I was forgiven.

My brother brought me this little brown Gideon New Testament and wrote in the inside back cover a sentence to remind me of the decision I'd just made, leaving a space for me to write my own name.

Moments later my father stormed into the kitchen, furious, and angrily banished my brother to his
room.  Then Daddy took me into the living room, sat me on his lap, and explained he knew more than those people at church and all those stories about Jesus were, well, just stories.

I figured Daddy knew best, so I took a pen and scratched out those words in the back of the Bible--thinking I could take back my decision.

I was blessed the next day, though, to have my brother explain the assurance of my salvation.  So I wrapped my fingers around that pen again and wrote out my recommitment to Jesus myself.

Today I look back on these 56 years.  My commitment has faltered many times but His has never failed.  I cherish this little brown Bible, but I cherish even more the knowledge that my name is written in The Lamb's Book of Life and will never be crossed out or erased.

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