I had one of those childhoods that you prefer to forget. As I grew into my teen years I was a dedicated atheist...or is it agnostic....anyway, I remember saying to anyone who mentioned 'God' to me, something that went like this...and worse....
"If there IS a god then I don't want to know him, he's a bastard.'
Like many other people I've met since, I thought that it was God (if there was one) who did all the bad things. How could a so called loving God let all the things happen that happened to me and my sister Valerie when we were just innocent little children? Either God didn't exist at all, or else he was the most vile hateful creature possible.
As a teenager, I didn't realize it, but I had developed a 'victim' approach to life, a 'poor me' attitude. My love of animals and their undeniable love for me comforted me and many a time my tears wet a horse's mane or fell onto a dog's beloved and understanding face. When I broke my neck and injured my lower spine from a car accident in my twenties, and was laid up in hospital, a friend brought me a book to read. It was called 'The Power of Postive Thinking' by Clement W Stone and Norman Vincent Peale. That book, written in simple and entertaining language, turned my whole life around and I heartily recommend it to anyone who is in a place right now that they wish they weren't. It taught me that each one of us has the inbuilt power to flip the coin from the negative to the positive side, and it was so easy that I couldn't understand how I had never thought to do it before. I learned that we have a choice, a free will, and that what we choose will have a direct bearing on what happens to us throughout our lives.
Looking back, I realize now that although I had turned my back on my Heavenly Father, He had not turned His back on me. I see so clearly now, the way He was always with me as I went through my trials and sorrows.
The Deal that Changed My Life Forever
It was ridiculously simple, the way that led me to God. When I was at my lowest ebb, I decided to put him to the test. Someone told me that there is a scripture that promises if we seek we will find, and if we ask God for bread he will not give us a stone.
I got down onto my knees and folded my hands as I'd seen people do in films. I figured that was a respectful thing to do if God was really there. I told the thin air that if God was real, if it was true that he existed, then I wanted to know for sure. I asked him to reveal himself to me. As I got back up from my knees, I didn't feel any different, nothing had changed and I thought 'oh well, I tried' and let it go at that. But God didn't.
A short time afterwards, I met a girl about my own age, called Shirley. Shirley and I got along really well, except for the fact that she kept bringing up the subject of 'Jesus'. It drove me nuts! Finally I got so sick of hearing her talk about her "savior" that I told her we couldn't be friends any more unless she laid off the Jesus stuff.
Shirley went quiet for a minute and then she said, "I'll do a deal with you then, Beverley"
"Oh yeah," I said, "what's that?"
"My husband and I hold a bible study meeting at our home, once a week on a Thursday evening. If you come to our meeting just once, I promise I will never mention Jesus to you again unless you want me to."
I hesitated before I answered her. Unless I wanted her to? She had to be kidding!
The last thing I wanted to do was go to some bible meeting with a group of nutty Christians and listen to them talking Jesus all night. But I really liked Shirley, she was a great and fun friend to have. Maybe I could just go this one time. It would be worth it to stay friends with her without having to hear her blabbing about all the God stuff.
"OK" I said finally, "it's a deal."
The following Thursday Shirley picked me up ( I didn't have a car) and drove me to her home. Everyone else had arrived by the time we got there, and when I walked into the room, the people gathered in the lounge room were so friendly, hugging me and welcoming me that I felt very uncomfortable. It was weird already I thought to myself, and the meeting hadn't even started yet! People didn't normally hug and kiss you on the cheek when you'd never met them before.
Finally, everyone sat down and got out their bibles. Shirley sat beside me and handed me one, whispering that she would find the pages for me so that I could follow the study. The evening dragged along and I was relieved when it eventually ended and we gathered in the kitchen for refreshments. As soon as it was respectfully timely, I asked if I could please be driven home.
I was glad that Shirley didn't ask me what I thought, or put any pressure on me. We chatted about other things on the drive back to my place and when I waved her goodnight from my porch, I was relieved. The deal was done, and now Shirley and I could be normal friends.
To my surprise, over the following days, some of the scriptures I'd read that night kept popping into my head. One in particular.
"For God so loved the world, that he sent his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but will have ever lasting life." John 3:16
Could it be possible that there really was a god and that he actually loved ME? The idea seemed unlikely, but what if it was true? I had questions that needed answers. I went back the following Thursday.
It's not easy living the Christian life and there is no way any of us could do it unless in God's strength, which is glorified in our own weaknesses. But to know "joy unspeakable" and to have "the peace that passes all understanding" regardless of the situations surrounding us, and to have the hope of eternity with no more pain suffering or death, are treasures impossible to describe.
To choose a life without God is the easy way out, for those who aren't prepared to take on the challenge of an open mind.
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it"
The Bible can be the hardest book to take down off the shelf and read, and the hardest to close and put away. Every one of It's prophecies over thousands of years have all come true to the exact time and place and it is logical that the last few which remain will do the same. Cities and even individuals mentioned in the Bible from thousands of years ago were thought to be fairy stories until geologists discovered the truth.
Bible Stories Myths and Fairy Stories?
Just one example of many is the Hittites who were long thought to be figments of imagination in the Bible stories because there was no sign that they had ever existed.... that is, until archaologists uncovered the whole city and found tombs with inscriptions of the very names of people mentioned in the Bible.
We live in perilous times, in a world ravaged by increasing hunger, disease, crime, and increasing natural disasters. The Bible likens the happenings of the last days before God will finally end it, to a woman in labor. Just as labor pains become more
frequent and of greater intensity until at last the baby is born, so will the tragic events of political unrest, poverty, fighting amongst nations, economic distress and natural disasters increase in frequency and intensity until the promised return of Jesus Christ.
At 14 years of age with my first 'very own' dog Dusty - my best friend. (14 year old girls dressed differently in those days!)
Below, me in 1957 with Jazmar, an ex steeplechaser given to me because no one wanted him. He was a nervous wreck from mistreatment and had become dangerous. He would do anything for me and I always thought of us as the two outcasts together.
Animals were my soul mates and friends. This is me with Majesty in 1959. He was a highly strung Thoroughbred who had been misunderstood, so I gave him a majestic name to give him something to live up to. And he did!
God is so GOOD. By a miraculous set of circumstances I found my beautiful mother again after 65 years. That's Clementine in the picture visiting MY MUM with me.
Vale: my mother passed away at 4am in Australia on 25th September 2013
God did not leave us without signs to help us prepare for the tumultous happenings at the end of time as we know it. He warned us that He will come suddenly, and encourages us to be ready.
'But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.'
Matthew 24:37-39 .....