All is indeed vanity!
“It is a curse to put one’s trust in man and make flesh one’s strength, instead of trusting in God, the Creator of all things.”
I enjoyed a happy childhood, with my father having been the first Congolese football player in the Belgian professional championship in the early sixties. He played for CS Verviétois, where he became the best national scorer in 1962-63; and later was part of the Congolese national team that won the 1968 African Nations Cup Final (
My father was a celebrity in sport, receiving many awards both as an excellent football player and a manager (once managing the national team). At the time, the country was so prosperous that 1 Congolese currency unit was exchanged against $2. Looking back today, I realise that, surely, it is not of any profit to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul.
In 1986, whilst still living in
I was the eldest male child in the household at that time, and I had just obtained my GCSE equivalent. It is needless to say that, in my country, this qualification would not get you any substantial job. In fact, without a strong recommendation you would not even get an admission at the university either. This support I totally lacked. Thus the family’s reputation fell from its high public profile to mockery and complete nothingness. My father’s past glories were now useless; his important friends he once had would hardly remember that he left a family. Later on, I was able to understand why it is a curse to put one’s trust in man and make flesh one’s strength, instead of trusting in God, the Creator of all things.
Then my father’s younger brother, who was working as an international worker in the neighbouring
I enrolled at the
Fear of death
The one particular thing that disturbed my life constantly was the fear of death. Thus drinking and smoking acted as a scapegoat to masquerade my constant fear of death. I knew that my lifestyle was wrong and I wanted to live otherwise; but I simply could not. I can recall attending churches occasionally, hoping to gain some peace of mind. Unfortunately, I returned to my usual way of living afterwards, only to increase my fear of death.
In April 1993, a Christian (who has now gone to be with the Lord) invited me to a 4-day annual convention for students and offered to pay the fee for me. During that time, I had an opportunity to truly understand what God’s joy and peace meant to the believers. For four days, I (still unsaved) was waking up early in the morning for prayer and Bible teaching with other Christians. During the first two days, nothing happened to me. I recall asking God for a visible sign, if I ought to be convinced that I was truly saved. I actually feared that even if I had made a public commitment of my life to the Lord, I would certainly not be able to get delivered from alcohol and smoking: this seemed an impossible thing to imagine.
“This is his day!”
It was on that blessed April 5th 1993, around 11:00 am, at that students’ convention that a Ugandan Evangelist was teaching on the urgency of surrendering one’s life to Jesus Christ, including things that were impossible to overcome. At the end of his teaching, the Evangelist launched a call to those who were both ready and willing to surrender their lives to the Lord. I was among the tens of people who stepped forward and knelt down. As we knelt and were praying, asking God to forgive our sins, I did not realise that, not only was I all in tears, but that everyone else had already returned to their seats. I was the only one left, kneeling down, in tears, praying to the Lord. There were about 250 people in that room and the Evangelist actually asked for all the people present in that room to stand, lift their hands up and pray for me. He said, “This is his day!” Yes - that was my day of salvation and, on that very day, I was born again and forgiven.
As I knelt down and repented from my sins, all in tears, I was also filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave me utterance. My “chains fell off”! From that day on, I never smoked again and God has delivered me from alcohol and promiscuity. I joined a fellowship, and then followed a baptism course for ten months in my local church. On February 25th 1994, I was baptised (fully immersed) publicly in the great
The most convincing sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit in my new life in Christ was the instant love for the brethren and the love for God’s word. The Holy Spirit has always been there to uphold me and correct me. By the grace of the Lord, I have enjoyed true fellowship with the brethren from different countries, and I have benefited from the counsels of faithful servants of the Lord. Because Jesus Christ lives, I can face tomorrow without fear. I know that whatever happens to me, my life is now in Jesus’ hands. The security of His faithfulness has supported me all the way through to this day.
I now “fight the good fight” along with other fellow believers until the Lord Jesus Christ returns to take us up into heaven, where we will be forever with Him. I long for that blessed day, and that is my only sure hope: the heaven of Jesus Christ; where God will wipe away every tear from every believer’s eyes; where there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things will have passed away. Now I know that God has a plan for every man. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory.
I thank my God and Father, in Jesus Christ.
|God seeks a Man|
|THE TESTIMONY OF JOHN WESLEY
By G. Kasongo - Eden Church’s Youth Gathering, London 07 February 2004)
1- Was born on June 17, 1703 in Epworth, Lincolnshire England. 15th of the nineteen children of Reverend Samuel and Susanna Wesley. They were parents of practical piety, which nurtured Wesley’s pietistic and devotional life. Wesley’s remarkable rescue from a rectory fire in 1709 made Susanna to give him special attention and care. According to the New Dictionary of Theologie, Wesley’s mother would have been an exceptional woman in any century.
2- His grandfathers were puritan non-conformist.
3- His father was educated in dissenting academies before deciding to return to the Established Church and attend Exeter College, Oxford.
4- Thus, Wesley was raised in a family with deep religious convictions
5- Along with his brother Charles Wesley, he gave leadership to the 18th Century Evangelical Revival and particularly to the Methodist Movement.
6- He qualified to BA (1724) and MA (1727).
7- 1725, he had his religious or moral conversion. His evangelical conversion came 13 years later and he was ordained deacon the same year.
8- Through the influence of a religious friend (unnamed), Wesley was guided to the writings of Thomas à Kempis [Imitation of Christ].
9- 1727, he left Oxford and was ordained presbyter in 1728.
10- 1729, he returned to Oxford at the request of Lincoln College and soon became spiritual leader of the small group of students his brother Charles had gathered. Other students called the group the “Holy Club”. Later they were known as “Methodists”. Together they studied the Greek New Testament, abridged numerous theological and devotional works, fasted twice a week, partook of the sacrament and regularly visited those sick or imprisoned. He met with George Whitefield at the Holy Club.
11- Returning from America, he was convinced by German Moravians who stressed the important of justification by faith alone, followed by an inner assurance. In England, he met up with Peter Böhler, a German Moravian. Wesley began to seek and preach justification by faith.
12- On May 24, 1738, at a small Moravian meeting in Aldersgate street in London, Wesley felt his heart strangely warmed. This happened while listening to the reading of Luther preface to Romans. History attests that nothing was left untouched by that evangelical experience.
13- This was united with his brother Charles and friend George Whitefield’s conversion, to produce the flame of the Evangelical Revival and catch attention of London, Bristol and the press.
14- The evangelical stress on a personal experience of salvation by faith was considered ‘new doctrine’ and unnecessary by most leaders of the Church of England (who maintained that a person was sufficiently saved by virtue of infant baptism).
15- Soon, Established Churches were closed to the Methodist preachers, forcing them into open air.
16- April 1739, George Whitefield invited John to Bristol to organise the multitude of new converts among the Kingswood coal miners into small groups for christian nurture and discipleship (one of Wesley’s great talents).
17- The centre of his theology was love : the love of God for all people and the grace of God available to all through faith in Jesus-Christ alone for salvation (Prevenient Grace). Thus, God reaches out to reach people, offering a personal relationship and ensuring each one a valid opportunity to respond.
· Justification, in which the righteousness of Chrit was attributed (or imparted) to the believer.
· New birth or Regeneration, in which the Holy Spirit began to produce the righteousness of Christ.
John Wesley was ‘preserving the fruit of his labours’.
Before he died he was twice heard to say, ‘the best of all is God is with us!'
MY TESTIMONY OF SALVATION
by Sally Richardson
I wonder, if you were asked what was the best gift that you had ever received would be, what would your answer be? A surprise holiday, perhaps? A new car? Or maybe, a piece of jewellery!
If I were to be asked what the best gift I had ever received was, it could only be one thing, and that is, my salvation. Without it, I would not even be writing this article, because I would be dead. On Christmas Day, 1975, I fully intended to kill myself, and had it not been for the intervention of the Lord, I most certainly would have done so. Let me explain.
Although I was born into a home where I wanted for nothing materially-speaking, nevertheless, I myself was unwanted, as my mother continually reminded me. She always used to tell me I was an accident, and
that she wished I had never been born. My younger sister Sue had been wanted, she told me, but not me. My father loved me, and tried to make amends for my mother's behaviour, as did Sue, but, nevertheless, I was always aware of a very deep sense of rejection and abandonment. In later years, I tried to block this out by promiscuous behaviour, heavy drinking, drug abuse and involvement in the occult.
Then, in spring 1975, I found I was expecting a baby. To say that my parents were horrified was putting it mildly. When I refused to consider having an abortion, my parents reacted by throwing me bodily out of the family home, followed by a suitcase hastily packed with a few of my belongings, and telling me never to come back. The baby's father could offer me no support either, so I found myself at the mercy of our local Social Services. All credit due, Social Services were absolutely marvellous, finding me a room in a hostel for unmarried mothers (as they were known in those days!), providing me with furniture and baby things, and helping me apply for benefits, etc.
However, being a single parent with no support from family and friends was very difficult. Yes, I received help from the statutory services, but my family did not care, and my friends did not appear to care either. I
struggled on, but became more and more depressed as time went by.
Things came to a head on Christmas Day 1975. All the other mums and babies in the hostel had gone home to their families for Christmas, but Laura, five months old, and I were left on our own in the hostel. Never had I felt more alone, never had I felt more unwanted and abandoned as I did then.
I began to think to myself, what was the point of living? What sort of life could I, a single parent living in one room in a grotty hostel in the worst part of town on State benefit, give my daughter? The answer was nothing, absolutely nothing. Laura deserved better, I told myself, but I could not provide it for her and I could not see any hope of my doing so in future.
I decided that it would be best for both of us if I killed myself. I planned my suicide meticulously, changing Laura, feeding her and laying her in her cot to sleep. I wrote a note, asking my social worker to find some good adoptive parents for Laura, before going to the corner shop around the corner (its Muslim owner being the only person to open his shop in our area on that Christmas Day of 1975) and bought a bottle of 50 Paracetamol tablets. I timed my suicide carefully for when Carol, who had the room next to mine, returned from spending Christmas with her parents. I began to take the tablets.
However, I had only taken three or four tablets when there was a loud and persistent knocking at the hostel front door. I tried to ignore it and took another tablet, but the knocking continued. I knew that the person knocking on the door couldn't possibly be for me, but it was very intrusive. Losing my temper, I went to the door, intending to give the caller a piece of my mind. Imagine then, my astonishment when I found that the caller was none other than my old school friend Maggie!
I hadn't seen Maggie for over five years, and so great was my amazement at seeing her standing on my doorstep after so long that I completely forgot about my suicide attempt and let her in.
Maggie must have noticed the tablets, the glass and my suicide note when she came in, but she did not say anything. Instead, she told me that she had only just heard about what had happened to me, hence her visit. As we caught up with all our news, I could not help but notice that Maggie had changed hugely since we had last seen one another five years ago. Then, she was like I was in 1975 - in other words, a complete emotional mess, angry, rejected and confused. Now, however, she was at peace and had a wonderful radiance about her, beautifully and gloriously reflected in her face, which was absolutely shining with joy.
I had to ask Maggie what on earth could have happened to her to bring about such a change. This was her answer. "I've come to know the Lord!" Maggie exclaimed excitedly. I've come to know the Lord, and I've been born again!"
I couldn't understand what Maggie was talking about. What did she mean; she had come to know the Lord? She WAS mixing with illustrious company! The only Lord I could think of was the one who owned the local newspaper! And as for being born again - well, it was a physical impossibility!
Maggie soon put me straight, this time without the Christian terminology. She had, I learned, been wonderfully and gloriously saved out of her previously sinful and wretched way of life, having repented of her sins and having put her faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
In the days immediately following Maggie's visit, I bumped into two more long lost old friends, who, like Maggie, had come to know the Lord. They, like Maggie, came alongside me, and provided me with the love and support I needed and craved for so much.
A few weeks later, and I was attending church with my new found friends, Maggie, Bob and Liz. Amazingly, they all went to the same Anglican Church in the centre of our town, a church where the word of God was faithfully taught, and where believers were regularly baptised in water as well as in the Holy Spirit. After hearing Roger, the Vicar, preach from Acts 2, I came under conviction, repented of my sins, and asked Jesus to be Lord of my life. Two weeks later, I was baptised by full immersion - yes, that's right, in an Anglican church!
Over the years, the Lord has ministered His healing and deliverance to me, firstly through Roger, our Vicar, and Marguerita, our Pastoral Worker. On the first occasion, I felt like Mary Magdalene, because I had seven demons cast out!
Since then, I have had so much to thank God for - my husband and children, good friends and my family at Bridge Lane Christian Fellowship, Golders Green. Truly, the Lord has done more than I could think or imagine.
I will end by quoting a few verses from my favourite psalm, Psalm 103.
Psalm103: 2 - 6 (Amplified Version)
"Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not (one of) all His benefits -
Who forgives (every one) of all your iniquities, and who heals (each one of) all of all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies
and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy;
Who satisfies your mouth (your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation) with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle's (strong, overcoming, soaring!)
The Lord executes righteousness and justice (not for me only) but for all who are oppressed."
Truly, this is what my precious Lord has done for me.
Be encouraged, for with God, all things are possible, and He can melt the hardest heart. After all, He melted mine!
S. RICHARDSON, 05/02/2006
They all believed...
- The Lord Jesus-Christ (The α and Ω) is risen indeed ... (Luke 24.34)
- Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household (Acts 16.31)
- ...It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgement.
So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him,
He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation (Hebrews 9.27-28)