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My testimony. Chapter one.

Denny Cooper

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February 23rd, 2014. Thats my real birthday. Not June 3rd, 1973. You see, that was the day that marked the death of the life I had known and every moment I had ever lived before. Everything I would ever know about myself and God and His Son and Holy Spirit would change so drastically and instantly that to even call to mind that day and the decades of before; it all just wouldn't matter anymore. My knowledge of scripture was bound in religion and therefore; inconsequential. My knowledge of myself and my reflection was ugly and hidden. Several days before I had someone who had faithfully been ministering Jesus to me. She called herself a messanger. I thought that was odd...a messanger? Growing up a devout Jehovah's Witness, the whole idea that Jesus was divine and every other religion was false eluded my soul and my heart. Jesus didn't have messengers; only Jehovah did. She was in tears over the phone telling me that I was being chose to be a vessel for the Lord, and I would probably think she was crazy for making this call. She told me she was being obedient and had to. She was right...I thought she was a little crazy. But she spoke of things about me and my life that I knew only God knew, and this fact alone not only made me listen, it made me still, silent and very afraid. I feared that if what was happening to me was real, I was not good enough and the vessel she spoke of me being was well to shattered to ever really be made whole again and I was pretty sure the God I knew just didn't work this way. Here I am smoking a cigarette, having a drink and toking on some weed and pretending that my life wasn't a complete and utter lie. I'm living in my brother's girlfriends basement without a job, a car, direction or purpose. I had nothing and was nothing, contemplating killing myself, and here on the phone is some stranger who lived 1000 miles away telling me things that made me shut up and listen hard, like a secret being whispered deep into my wanting, desperate and hungry ears. I needed God so bad and I knew it, but had believed in the vehicle of religion as being the ticket to get to God's Kingdom. My life would soon turn from being a witness of Jehovah to a slave of Christ. Hearing the truth right side up would turn my world upside down. Religion would turn to relationship, and the deeply personal and intimate Sovereign God who always felt so far far away would present Himself so closely that my life would not just become another chapter...It would become another book entirely. God was writing a story that day, and my character would not reckon himself to be so deeply flawed. I was such a wreck, so broken beyond repair. I would learn that day that He loves and purposes some of the greatest sinners among us. Friends, I am nothing. A nobody. However, the testimony of Jesus in my life would change how and who I saw in my tattered and torn reflection To those who are forgiven much, they love much in return. My testimony echoes with divine clarity the complete failure of religion, and the restoration found in relationship. I would go from a Kingdom Hall to a church without walls. I would go from a life of sin and death to a love without borders. Church would soon be not where I would go, but who I would become.

"You are going to be a vessel..." She had my attention because I had just started a blog called "Becoming His Vessel". She didn't know that, but I knew who did. God was calling, and soon, very soon, I would answer. This is the story of my life. A simple, poor, ex Jehovah Witness; an addicted two time prison inmate thief and liar and such an immoral unlikey man who cared about nobody and nothing, such a real loser so far and on my way to a life of death who in one day, in one inspired moment would be changed by the very hand of the only Sovereign true God alive. In one day, just like that, I found a relationship and still know I don't deserve it. Faith is a gift. Grace is a gift. My life is a gift, and God is good. Why do I not go to church today? I'll tell you why. Its in my testimony, and finally I feel it is time to tell my story. I can hardly wait...



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