Mike's Testimony

I grew up in Aberdeen, Scotland, I had a catholic upbringing. Which involved the usual catholic traditions for a child. First holy communion, Confirmation, and yes i was even an Altar boy. But church to me was the dreaded hour on a Sunday, the longest day of the week. I hated going to the mass, it was the most boring hour of the week. I was miserable, and i think everyone else was too. When I was 11 years old, my father had a massive heart attack and passed away at the age of 41. This rocked our whole family to the core, i didn't understand why my dad had been taken away form me. the reality of death became very real to me. I entered into secondary school shortly after, and then i told my mum, that I was no longer going to come to the church. I remember my mum trying her best to force me into this, but to no avail. The reality of a Loving God, certainly a God who i could know, was very far from me, and it was something that did not even dawn on my mind.
 
 

The dark years

My early teenage life was about to begin, the same way my adult life would continue. The life of rebellion against authority was something I enjoyed, something i believe was due to an anger in me that my dad had been taken from me. I soon begin to indulge in the culture that surrounded me, and cigarettes and alcohol were a regular weekly staple, this soon developed into cannabis use for many years during my school life, so getting high was the priority, certainly not school. School was something i could not wait to get over with, so i could get out into the real world and make money. Well I began my life of working during the week in the oil industry, and partying hard at the weekend, this routine was like so many my age, it was hard not to get caught up in the excitement of it all. The high of the first drink of the evening, would usually end with me being so plastered that i couldn't even remember the evening. I was not a very confident person, rather shy and awkward. So the alcohol would give me a false sense of confidence, this would usually lead into further debauchery and immorality. 
 
My years of working hard, especially being a North sea rig worker, didn't really have much to show for it. Sure, I had a bachelor pad, but other than that, my money would be squandered on my idols of clubbing and bars, so called recreational drug abuse for the confidence boost I needed, and to be accepted by the boys. I was soon to become known amongst them, as the guy who gets wasted at parties and does the most outrageous antics. Another idol, was my body. Yes I became addicted to the gym, spending thousands on potions and shakes, and the latest bulk pills, working out to satisfy my vanity, and to give me that so needed confidence boost. This became my everything. My Addictions didn't stop there. I was hopelessly addicted to pornography. I look back now and know it was an addiction, because  couldn't stop watching it daily. No matter how hard I tried, knowing it was wrong, I silenced my conscience, and the desires prevailed. I was a slave to my sin.
 
 

The end is near

I met my then to be wife Gemma in 2007. Like me, Gemma had a vague church attending background, as a child. But like me, this had no impact on her, and she ventured down the exact same path i had been traveling. We met on this path, at a regular venue we both attended; a friends booze infested house party, but years later we would be taken off this path to another. We were married in 2010. Of course i wanted to get married in a church because, you know, I believed there was a God, and as long as I believed that, then I was ok, I mean I was a good person right? By the world's standard, sure i was drunk, a thief, adulterer, and a liar, but hey nobody is perfect, and I thought God was ok with me too. You know I had a sense God was pleased because I was getting married in a church. 
 
We hypocritically went to church after we were married, after all we didn't want the priest to question our sincerity. This went on for a year, having no impact on my life whatsoever, if anything causing more frustration to arise. We would sometimes attend the catholic church on Sunday, usually in the evening, to allow is time to recover from the hangover. This carried on until 2012. I remember that summer, i said to Gemma after we both woke up with the usual Sunday morning Hangover; Is this it? Is this all there is to life? What a miserable existence. Sure, i had a well paying supervisors Job, Gemma had a successful family business, we had a lovely flat together, but i still questioned everything. You Know. Why am i here? What is the point? Where am i going? This is where to road began to turn.
 
Gemma had recently came in touch with a friend through social media. This friend had worked with Gemma nearly 12 years ago. She was Christian Girl, who would often talk with Gemma about God, and she even gave her a bible. Well, Gemma had came across this bible just before she decided to contact her friend. Gemma then to my amazement began to explore the claims of the bible. I remember coming home one evening and finding Gemma watching Jesus of Nazareth starring Robert Powell. I said to her, hey this was the film my Mum used to watch, i remember it being on in my house as a young boy. It brought a smile to my face, and I even hung about the door to watch for a while. 
 
Her friend continued to speak with Gemma, and invited her down to her house in Stonehaven, of course i wasn't the slightest bit interested, as I was going on a stag weekend with the lads. I had no time for any of that God stuff, not on a serious level. After her visit I remember her coming home and telling me how wonderful it was to meet her friend, and to meet these other Christians who shared powerful stories of how God was changing peoples lives. I was too hungover to even care. Shortly after, Gemma was invited again to her house, and asked if I could go with her. i thought, no way, I ain't going to no bible study, but after mentioning this to my mother, she said, go, she's your wife, go make an effort. So I did. I arrived with anticipation at what to expect. But to my surprise these people were not weird, or strange. They were normal guys and girls my age or younger. They too had questions, some were Christians, some were not. I walked away that night with a comment that no doubt surprised Gemma. I enjoyed that evening, I'm glad I came.
 
 

I am His and He is mine

Several weeks had passed, and We had been listening to the Christian music that Gemma's friend Emily has passed to us. Now I remember that I was getting ready for a night out, and strangely Gemma had this Christian music playlist on in the living room. Well, I heard one of the songs, the lyrics from 'Majesty' sung by Michael smith; these lyrics pierced my conscience, and for the first time since Iwas a boy, I heard the name of Jesus in a song. This brought tears to my eyes, and i ran out the room to cry. My sin and my hopelessly lost condition was becoming apparent.
 
Weeks later, Emily invited us to her house in September 2012. We were the only people to turn up. We ate some food, and sat down to watch a film. Of course this film wasn't the usual violent, profane filled action films I so enjoyed. This film was called the 'Finger of God'. The film brought to my attention, the reality of this God that I had been running away from my whole life, I became deeply moved as i was listening to the testimony of people from all around the world, who had encountered the radical love of God. I felt a stirring inside, something i had never felt before. At the end of the film, I was just stunned and didn't know what to really say. Emily explained that Jesus died for sinners on the cross. Sure, I knew all that and sort of believed it. But for the first time in my life, I knew that I was a sinner before my Holy Creator, that I had lived a life that had so offended him, a life of breaking all his laws, a life of despising his goodness, and now I realised that he died for MY SINS, and I knew that my sins were great. I Confessed my sin right there in her living room, and we all prayed together. i asked God to forgive me that night. That night I was forgiven, and it was the beginning of my new life in Christ. I was Born again.
 
Over the next few months God was working in my heart, I started to read the bible daily, and this grew into a real love for Gods word, which still by his grace continues to this day. God was continuing to show me how truly wretched my sins were. I realised how much my depraved and immoral sin deserved eternal hell. I would be driving to work in the morning literally blinded by my tears. I was so in awe of this God and his presence was such a reality in my life. I could not help but sing his praises in my car, and cry over how wicked i had been, and how loving he had been towards me. He sent his son to die for me. I was forgiven, i am no longer going to hell for my sins against my Creator. Jesus paid it all for me on the cross. The first bible verse I memorised was, For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him, will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). I had eternal life. What was there not be happy about.
 
Myself and Gemma, who also came to the Lord several months later, were both baptised together on Easter Sunday 2013. In front of our whole families we both confessed Jesus Christ as Lord. The power of God has radically changed my life, and set me free from the power of sin, no longer am i a slave to pornography, binge drinking, or a love for the world's pleasures. The power of the Holy Spirit in me, has enabled me to walk contrary to the world's path, and what the world says is right. For Jesus himself said that we are to enter through the narrow gate, for broad is the road that leads to destruction (hell), and many go through it, narrow is the path to life and few find it (Matthew 7:13-14). It is indeed narrow, and difficult, but it is one full of Joy. It is not dead religion that so many are caught in, it's a life filled with hope and real purpose. To seve my Creator instead of serving my lusts. What a Saviour, and his glory awaits those who persevere in Gods grace. Oh the riches of Christ, oh the wonders of eternal life. What is this life in comparison to what awaits those who love God. No longer am I a servant of sin, and the Devil, But i am now a servant of my Lord, and i am not ashamed of the Gospel The Lord Jesus Christ. I live to make him known, no matter what the cost. For to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21
 
He is the Son of the Living God. He lived a perfect life that none of us could live, he satisfied the demands of the law that we all break, and cannot keep. He went to the cross in our place, to receive the penalty of Gods wrath that we all deserve for our treason and flat out rebellion against our maker. God raised him to life on the third day, he is fully God, and fully man. He is creator and sustainer of all life, he is King of Heaven and earth, and will Judge everyone of his creatures on the last day. Because of the first man's fall and disobedience (Adam) we all come into this world cursed under sin, and we are slaves to it. We are all corrupt to our cores. We do not naturally love God. We live lives of rebellion and indifference towards God. We are blinded and seduced by sins power. We cannot break free from it's grip, it will take us all to hell forever. But God in his love sent his son to bear the penalty. I have received this wonderful undeserved gift through grace alone. I will go to heaven when I die, only because of the merit of Jesus Christ alone. 
 
MIKE'S CHOICE OF HYMN IS 'THE POWER OF THE CROSS'