A Change of Heart
by Pat Chwialkowski
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It’s hard to believe that it has been 25 years since that night. I remember like it was yesterday, the night my heart was forever changed. Allow me to share my story how my life was forever changed with one simple prayer.
I was sitting in my lazy boy chair, and I was reading from a pocket sized New Testament that someone at work had given me to read. I accepted it from her, in order not to look rude, but I was convinced I would be returning it untouched. However, God had other plans. The depression was very intense that night, along with feeling so lost and alone. It was out of desperation that I got out this pocket Bible. As I opened it up, inside was a note from the co-worker who lent it to me. In this note, she encouraged me to pray before I began reading. She gave me a sample prayer that went something like this: Lord open up my heart and mind so that I can understand Your Word. I did as Glenda instructed me, simply because I really liked her and I was use to doing what she told me, since she was the corporate secretary at the bank where I was employed. I repeated the prayer and then began reading, starting with the Gospel of Matthew. I read up to the 18th chapter when I paused and placed this little Bible on the table beside me. I then cried out to God for the first time in my life. It was a simple “Help me God” using no elaborate words, and absent of any profound theology. But something profound did start to happen from that evening on. The God of this universe began revealing Himself to me, and slowly unveiled to me the truths of Christianity. As the months went on and things became clearer to me, I slowly embraced the living God, and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. He placed a fire in my heart, and a passion in my soul. I could not stop talking about Jesus and all the things He was showing me. I know during those early days I looked like I lost my mind. And to this day, I know there are many who think I am one french fry short of a happy meal. But that’s all right. Before I began my own relationship with the Lord, I would hear people make reference to spiritual matters in their own lives, and I would automatically put them in the weirdo category. This is very normal thinking for the person who has not yet experienced a spiritual awakening in their own lives. Scripture records for us that this kind of thinking has been going on since the beginning of Christianity. At Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came and invaded the hearts of the new converts, these new believers became very zealous and immediately began declaring the wonders of God in their own tongues. In other words, you could not get them to be quiet. Can you relate? I think the first sign of a person having an encounter with the living God is, you cannot get them to stop talking about it. Since it’s the best thing that could happen to anyone, they want the whole world to know about it, and let others know it is available to anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord. (Acts 4:12) However, often when you tell people this good news, they think you have gone totally nuts. Again, let me remind you that is perfectly normal since even the people back 2000 years ago had the same thoughts toward the newly converted. Times may have changed, but I think people are basically the same. In Acts 2:13, it says the unconverted were confused and did not understand what the new believers were talking about, so some of them came up with their own idea.
“They (meaning the new believers) have had too much wine.” Then Peter stood with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd:
…These men are not drunk, as you suppose.
(For goodness sakes) It’s only nine in the morning! Acts 2:13b&15 (parenthesis is mine)
So the next time you want to talk about your relationship with God, go for it. Be bold like those early believers were. What if they would have kept their mouths shut? If so, would the gospel been able to pass down in order to reach our generation? If they chose not to be silent, how then can we remain quiet about the things of God? I believe we owe it to the next generations. I am eternally grateful to the people God sent to me during my early seeking days. It would have been impossible for me to find God without their help. Now it’s my turn to help. I pray that God uses these devotionals to help you with your walk with God. I pray that God puts a fire in your heart, and a passion in your soul. And finally, I pray that you too will have the boldness like the early believers in spite of people thinking you’re one can short of a six-pack. What’s wrong anyway, with a happy meal short of a french fry with a 5 pack of pop? It might not satisfy the real hungry, but at least it’s a start!
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.
He who comes to me will never go hungry,
And he who believes in me will never be thirsty
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What a simple and joyful expression of a profound experience. It was 39 years ago when I met the Lord. I was thirteen. The first thing I ever wrote was a description of my experience!