One*s first encounter with God is a heart-changing, mind-changing and life changing event. It is a peace treaty. It is the end of a war. It causes a reversal of direction. It is a change of spiritual polarity. It is a sudden and dramatic move from the wrong side of spirituality to the right side of spirituality. It is a slave to sin being set free. It is a resurrection. It changes one who was dead unto God to one who is alive unto God. It is the beginning of a continual and eternal relationship with God. An encounter with God is remedial. It corrects us. It changes us. It makes us brand new. It surprises us. It delights us. It refreshes us. It strengthens us.
2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Psalms 55:19: God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Selah. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.
That first encounter with God occurs when one receives Christ as Lord and Saviour. Many people think they encountered God before they received Christ. It is not true. Don*t believe it. Many people believe they can get to God without Christ. Don*t believe that either. It is a lie from the pit of Hell.
John 14:6: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Before we received Christ God influenced us through the circumstances of our lives to bring us to the place and circumstance where we were willing to receive Christ. That influence was not a personal encounter. It merely brought us to the encounter.
I have never met anyone who told me they wanted to undo the effects of that encounter.
I have been thrilled many times to see changes in persons who have prayed to receive Christ in my hearing. Sometimes God shows me an instantaneous change. Sometimes He shows me that change days, weeks or months later. Sometimes new believers are gone from my life before I have seen any changes. I shall share with you some of the changes I have been aware of in new believers in the hope that you will become aware of changes God has made in you. If you are not aware that God has changed you, perhaps He has not. I shall give these individuals numbers rather than names.
Lady 1 was a terminally ill patient in a nursing home in Illinois. She was frightened and nervous about everything. After she received Christ she was at peace. When she was physically able to attend the services we held in that home she was joyful. When she was too ill to attend she was sad and apologetic.
Lady 2 was a Catholic lady who received Christ the very first time she attended a service we held in her retirement center. After that she shared with me that she still attended masses but they don*t teach it (the Bible) like you do. She encouraged many others to attend our services after that.
Gentleman 1 was a young man I worked with. After he received Christ he attended Bible studies and church with his bride-to-be and her parents. I had the privilege of attending his wedding. In the receiving line at the reception he made it a point to introduce me to his Christian mother-in-law. He must have told her that I had shared the gospel with him. She gave me warm thanks for leading her son-in-law to Christ.
Lady 3 after receiving Christ said with great emphasis: You don*t know what you have done for me! I quickly told her and she instantly understood that only God could for her what had been done.
Lady 4 shared with me a few weeks after receiving Christ that she had visited her husband-to-be in prison. He had received Christ in prison and asked her in broken English: Are you doing Christian too? She was joyful over her own salvation and doubly joyful when she learned about his.
Gentleman 2 after receiving Christ told one of his friends he: needed to talk to Ron. That friend talked to me a few weeks later and received Christ himself.
Lady 5 said she did not want to read the Bible studies that I suggested. A few days later she informed me that she had told her born-again brother who lived in another state about receiving Christ. He had done that years before and now they were having wonderful fellowship. She has also shared Christian books with another mutual Christian friend.
Gentleman 3 had been very profane before he received Christ. Shortly after he received Christ I heard him almost stumble with his lips. He said: God d . . . . that thing! He could no longer say the word damn.
Gentleman 4 told me after receiving Christ that before receiving Christ he had been a stubborn fool.
Gentleman 5 showed me very little evidence other than a smile that he had been saved. After a few months he told me he was angry with his wife for deleting an email Bible study I sent him and asked me to send it again. Unknown to me he had become hungry for the Bible.
Lady 6 was silent after receiving Christ but reached toward heaven as if embracing God. I have no idea what she told her father about that occasion but he was interested in hearing what I had to say and he also received Christ a few weeks later.
I often ask people before I share the gospel with them if they know for certain that they are going to heaven. The answers vary from I hope so to I think so to I know I am not. After they receive Christ, most know instantly they are going to heaven and will say so.
I praise God for all of these testimonies. For more of them see the article entitled Testimonies I have enjoyed. I do not recall anyone not saying thank you to me for sharing the gospel with them. I always encourage them to thank the Lord and not me. They seem to have unanimously received a heart of gratitude. One definition of the word grace is: the divine influence upon the heart, including gratitude.
The Bible indicates that unbelievers will be unthankful people.
2 Timothy 3:2: For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
If you are at all familiar with the Bible you will know that it contains the accounts of many individuals who were quickly, dramatically and eternally changed by an encounter with God.
This article will also appear under the title Testimonies Of New Christians.