Testimony

I really don’t remember the exact date I first asked the Lord to come into my heart. My earliest memory is a time when I was about seven years old. I was at summer Christian camp standing next to a campfire where we were singing a song, “Kum Ba Yah,” which means “Come by Here, Lord.” I felt a joy and excitement like I never felt before. Those feelings made such a deep impression in my young life. Oh, how I believed the Lord had great plans for me.

For a while, I let my experience affect the way I looked at life, but, after a while I got caught up into living life away from the Lord. Needless to say, I tried all types of experiences and ventures to try to fill that hole in my life. I was driven with all the lusts of life, lies that never ceased or could be satisfied.

I thought, if only I had a wife, now that would satisfy my sexual needs. So, at barely 18 years old, I got married. But, I found out quickly, that didn’t satisfy me. If only I had a college degree, I would be satisfied. So, I cracked the books and got nine years worth of degrees in three years, but that didn’t satisfy me either. I thought if I only had lots of money, now that would satisfy me. So, by the age of 21, I had become a millionaire, but that didn’t satisfy me. I needed children, I thought. So, at the age of 25 (I had divorced and remarried by then) I got with it and had children. But, that didn’t satisfy me either. Power, yes, that’s what I needed. In our society, one of the fastest ways to obtain power is through the power of the pen. I got into the magazine business, but, that didn’t satisfy me. I tried everything to find a purpose and have peace. The more I seemed to accomplish, from a worldly perspective, the more empty I became. I had no peace.

“The awakening,” for me, came in the summer of 1988. Of all places, I was in Thailand. Would you believe that I was celebrating a new marriage at the time? The only problem was that I was celebrating by myself, without my spouse. I had planned the trip before the marriage and had convinced myself that I shouldn’t change my plans just because I had a new marriage and a new wife. This was my third wife. I went to Thailand for business and pleasure (mostly pleasure) and I planned to be there a whole month. After seven days in that beautiful country, I called home to check on my new bride. At the time, I was in Chang Mai, in northern Thailand near the Burma border. To my surprise, my bride’s voice sounded very troubled. I pushed her to find out what was wrong. She said she was considering a divorce. Things just did not seem right to her. I panicked! I always had controlled people and situations. How dare she? She was making plans without my permission or my direction. I immediately thought if there was any divorcing to do, it should be me in control and I should rush home and divorce her. The panic I felt quickly turned to pain, uncontrollable pain.

It seems we always turn to God when we need something or we are in trouble. So, I prayed for God to help me get home in a hurry. I was used to making things happen quickly, but there I was in northern Thailand, thousands of miles from home, a half a world away. I immediately phoned for airline reservations and was told that a plane wasn’t available for several hours and the entire journey with layovers and connecting flights would take approximately 45 hours if everything went as scheduled. I canceled three weeks of plans I had previously made for Thailand and made the reservations within 15 minutes of talking to my new wife.

That trip seemed like it took a life time. Every second seemed like hours and every hour seemed like days. I was so miserable and totally out of control. At first, I prayed selfish prayers such as, “Lord, help me get back in control and I’d do better.” I was an absolute mess, totally overwhelmed, and I seemed to count my every breath.

In the following hours, God opened my eyes to my sin. He showed me the results of my worldly success. Yes, I had achieved financial success, power and all the benefits that come with both. I had played both the single life and the married life, and I had children. BUT, HE ASKED ME: IF I WERE TO DIE AT THAT VERY MOMENT, HOW WOULD I JUDGE THE SUCCESS OF MY LIFE?  MORE IMPORTANTLY, HOW WOULD HE JUDGE ME? Those questions and certainly the answers terrified me. You see, I did everything my way, like the song, “Did It My Way.” Everything was for me and about me, but it was never enough to satisfy me.

You hear stories about how people had to “hit bottom” before they turned their life over to God. Hitting bottom for some people is being swallowed up in alcohol and finally realizing they can’t get out of it on their own. For some hitting bottom is being addicted to drugs. For others it is lust. The ruler of this world is the master of lies and his game is misery. For me, I hit bottom when I was at the top, as far as the world was concerned. You see, I had everything the world strives for and deems successful. But, I tell you, all I had was Hell.

Was I ready to be obedient to God? To do things in His will? How do we know what His will is? The answer to knowing God’s will and His heart is by reading and studying His Word, the Bible, and by praying to Him. We must acknowledge that He is God and that we are not. We must recognize that we were made in His image, not the other way around. It is so easy to make God to be what we think He should be. But, we must turn away from our old-selves, totally, and ask Him to forgive us and to make us new. We must ask Him to change our lives from what they were, and be willing and actually desire to be obedient to Him. God makes all this possible through his Son, Jesus. Jesus came to this world and lived without sin and died for you and me. Jesus took on our sins and sacrificed His life so that we might have new ones. All we have to do is receive Him.

Satan tells us that if we turn to God we will have to give up the things we liked in our old lives. The liar convinces a lot of people to stay in the old life. That’s why some people have to hit bottom and believe there are no other choices before they choose to receive Him.

So, for those who haven’t received Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, I pose the following: What about you? Have you hit bottom? Do you have to hit bottom? How much time do you have to waste? God is calling you. God has always been there for you and me. It was I in the past that turned away from Him and when I finally turned back, He was there. Life is simply not worth living without Him. You can know joy, peace and hope like you never experienced before. Yes, you still have problems in life to deal with, but, those problems will be put into a Godly perspective, a perspective you can deal with. He will equip you to deal with each one of them you face.

Do you want to ask Jesus to come into your heart? If you do, you are saying you are sorry for your sins. You are asking Jesus to come into your life and cause you to have a new life in Him. The Bible says in Romans 10: 9-10,13

“That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation… For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”

Say a prayer like the following, feel free to use your own words, God will understand you:

“Heavenly Father, I come to you in prayer asking for the forgiveness of my sins. I confess with my mouth and believe with my heart that Jesus is your Son, and that he died on the cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven and have eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose from the dead and I ask you right now to come in to my life and be my personal Lord and Savior. I repent of my sins and will worship you all the days of my Life! Because your Word is truth, I confess with my mouth that I am born again and cleansed by the blood of Jesus! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen. “

If you prayed and truly believe the words you prayed, then Praise the Lord as you have been saved and your name will appear in the Lambs Book of Life. That means you will have eternal life and that He will always be there for you.

Now, where do you go from here? Start by getting a Bible and reading it daily. Along with reading your Bible, speak to God and pray. Tell Him your thoughts and concerns and thank Him for the blessings He gives you. Find a group of believers and meet with them regularly and find a Bible teaching church and attend it.

If you have questions, I am available. Hopefully and prayerfully, your Brother in Christ, Lyle E. Brennan (“Lyle B”)