When They Are Old They Will Not Depart
by Tracy Finney
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My testimony is a "through the Bible" account of the life God has given to me. To begin relaying this message I need to start in 1 Corinthians 13:11. "When I was a Child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child…" Now jump to Matthew 18:3; "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."
When I was a child, I thought like a child. I was raised in the Lutheran church. My parents took us to church every Sunday. I was eager and delighted to learn about Jesus. With open arms and a wide open heart I loved the Lord. I can remember at my home we had a picture of Jesus standing at the door of our hearts. So many times I would stand in awe, looking up at that depiction of our Lord. I would tell Him I loved Him and longed to be held by Him. I can remember, at least once, telling Him that when I grew up I wanted to tell people about what He did for us.
Time passed and I grew. The next verse to introduce into my testimony is 1 Corinthians 15:33; "Do not be deceived: 'Evil company corrupts good habits.'" I know how real this statement is from first hand experience. My parents got caught up in the CB (citizens band) radio fad. They made new friends and our family began to travel down a new road. My parents would hang out with their friends. They developed a new lifestyle of drinking and partying. My brothers and I would often be left home alone. My brothers were at the age where they were being introduced to smoking, drinking, and drugs at the school. Of course I was influenced by this new way of life. Sunday mornings became the time to sleep in. It was the recovery day from the weekend of partying. Church slowly and gradually slipped out of our lives.
That lifestyle reminds me of the verse in 2 Corinthians 11:14; "…For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light." Our family had been one that loved God and wanted to do what was right. We went to church, my parents talked to people at work about the Lord, and I use to try to love the kids at school. However, subtly, the enemy of or souls found a foothold into our family. Once the CB replaced the daily reading at the dinner table, the devil began to draw each one of my family down a path that appeared to be a path of "light" but in the end it brought destruction.
When "destruction" comes it affects many people. This destruction came to my home in the form of divorce. When I was at the tender age of fourteen, my dad was served divorced papers and forced to leave our home. The snowball effects of sin continued in my life and my family for many years. Through the subtle works of the prince of darkness, my heart was turned from loving God to finding my own path to follow.
I lost sight of God. I searched for happiness in many ways. I tried to "fit in" with the smart kids at school; but I wasn't quite clever enough. I knew I would never make it as a jock, so I never even tried. I decided I wasn't good enough to fit in anywhere that needed talents; so I tried to hang out with the druggies. I couldn't make it with that group because I had too many moral values inside that prevented me from really diving in with that group. Never-the-less, I walked on my own road. I lived to please myself; even though I never found fulfillment, I carried on my own path.
After graduation form high school, I went to the community college. I guess you could say I was still "trying to find myself". Thank the Lord that at some time during the college years my oldest brother came back to the Jesus. He would Bible bash me on a regular bases. I hated to be near him. I didn't want to give up my life; I had spent many years trying to find happiness, and even though I hadn't really discovered it yet, I wasn't about to give up my search.
Gradually, little by little, I became more aware of Jesus knocking at the door of my heart. My brother would tell me that just knowing about Jesus wasn't even to save me from Hell. He always used James 2: 19; "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble!" My brother would tell me over and over that just knowing about Jesus was not enough. I needed to surrender my life to Him. I needed to let go and let Jesus be Lord of my life. Almost every night God would reach out to me, drawing by His loving arms, closer and closer to Him.
The best day in life happened on August 2nd, 1988. This day was the beginning of the fulfillment of Proverbs 22:6 in my life. "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it." As a young child my parents trained us in the ways of the Lord. They made sure we were in Sunday school so we could learn about Jesus. My dad read each night at the dinner table a daily reading. My mom and dad did their best to teach us the right path to take in life. Even though we all went astray, and destruction came upon our family, God was still faithful. He gently and graciously brought each member of my family back to the Lord.
On August 2nd, 1988, I gave my life to the Lord at a Billy Graham crusade. Not only was that the most wonderful day of my life because I came back to my first love, but my father also went forward that very day and recommitted his life to Jesus.
Since that time I have watched how the Lord has worked in my life. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." God was so faithful to this verse. As I grew in my new walk with the Lord, I had two desires: I wanted to serve the Lord, and I wanted to have a family. God granted me both. He brought my husband, John, from clear across the ocean to marry me. He has granted me the privilege to raise our four beautiful children. God in His mercy also allowed us to work in evangelism on a small island in Scotland.
Since the day I gave my life to the Lord He has been faithful to me. He has taught me many things. Recently, the Lord has also showed me how real the Parable of the Talents became in my life. Up until about two years ago, I felt all my life like I have never been good at anything. I guess I was the person who had "little"; God watched my heart and must have found I was faithful with the little, so He has given me more. In the past two years I have discovered some new giftings surfacing in my life. I found out I have some talent for painting. I also, through no credit of my own, realized I have a gift for writing.
Neither of my newfound gifts are very finely tuned, but with God's help and my faithfulness, I hope that He will help me develop these talents. I pray for God to find me worthy and willing. I eagerly look forward to what God can do through me. I am His servant and if anything praiseworthy is found in me I will be quick to give Him all the glory!
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