Testimony of Paul L
Being Irish I was raised Roman Catholic. Looking back however our family was not very pious. But we went along with the system. As soon as my mother died I began to live away from home. This was during the middle sixties and with the influence of T .V. and film things began to change here in Ireland. Flower Power, hippies, the love generation etc; with it drink and drugs. In my case drink. At this stage any belief in God or Jesus had well and truly gone. In my eyes Religion was all a con trick to fool the masses etc; I believed that if there was a Jesus he was a political figure and the Catholic Church [Christianity] was a political movement like Communism, Fascism. Even though my drinking was getting steadily worse I was still looking for answers to life. WHAT IS LIFE ALL ABOUT? IS THIS ALL THERE IS? WHAT CAN FILL THIS EMPTINESS WITHIN ME? At this time I began to read books such as How To Win Friends And Influence People and The Power Of Positive Thinking I even got involved with Scientology, Reincarnation and Eastern Religions. But the power of drink took its effect, loosing my wife, my family, my job every thing was gone. I was sinking lower and lower and it got worse. I was truly lost.
Then I believe God intervened after more then 20 years of alcoholic abuse, I stopped drinking. I heard about this Higher Power. Now I did not want to believe in Jesus or religion, so looking back I made up my own type of god. This god got me off drink because I knew that I could not do this thing myself. Being a god of my own creation he turned a blind eye to my sin that still remand in my life even though I was genuinely sorry for what I had done while drinking. Even though I was not drinking and dry for 5 years, why was I feeling so bad, depressed, my mood swings were awful going from high to low. I had no peace of mind. This was as bad as drinking.
Then a Christian friend told me about himself and how he had got "saved". I thought he was brainwashed. This coming from a person who had been steadily burning away brain cells for years with whiskey and Guinness. At the suggestion of my friend I joined a Pentecostal church. They were into healing and the Toronto blessing so things were very wild. People talking in tongues, falling to the floor - it all seemed to be happening - a great show. But again come Monday morning I felt awful, where had all the blessings of yesterday gone?
Still I kept on going to the church. I was hoping that someday I would finally know whether I was really saved or not. It did not happen. Why had I TO WORK SO HARD?
Now the same friend started to go to another church. He encouraged me meet his Pastor. This is one of the best things I have ever done. The pastor explained a lot of things, which I was very shaky about. He actually discipled me in the WORD, THE HOLY BIBLE. This is what was missing - the WORD OF GOD and all from The King James AV too! All the confusion began to leave me over a period of time. The Holy Ghost kept working on me.
For many years I struggled with being a church goer without knowing for sure that I was saved. Every Sunday the preacher would preach about repenting of sin and calling on the lord and getting saved. Now I believed every word he spoke but being around the Christian church for about six years and had learned a lot of Bible I had considered myself well established.
But every time I heard a person's testimony they always had a time and day in which they were converted. This troubled me as there was not any day in which could be said I got saved. It was always around that time or maybe then, or a couple of years ago and so on. Was I saved or not? This question haunted me day in day out. My pride continually told me that one did not need a time. Your OK.
Then in May of 2001 I was at a church men's retreat. Every one there that gave their testimony of salvation had a time and day in which they surrendered to God. Though I gave my testimony and it was well received, I know there was a question about my salvation. Was I truly saved or not? One of the men at the retreat spoke to me quietly and asked me, was I really saved and when? His question troubled me. Could not hide any more the Holy Spirit would not let go.
To add to it the day after, Sunday my preacher spoke about a girl in his home church. Who every body thought was saved as she was a leading light and involved in many ministries within the church. At the end of a service she came forward and spoke. She said her pride had kept her back from being saved. How could she admit that she was unsaved when she herself had lead other people to Christ. She asked the Lord to save her and asked forgiveness. It was her pride that stopped her! This was too much for me it was like being hit repeatly with a sledgehammer. I had to get right with god. Everything had to be dropped. For the next two day's the Holy Ghost was working me over real good. No Tuesday 22nd May 2001 at 1:25 pm while walking my dog I could stand it any longer. I fell to my knees by a derelict wall in Gouldings Glen and asked Jesus to forgive me my sin. To be my Lord and Saviour. He saved me and now I know for sure I am on my way to Heaven. Pride had to be dropped. I had to explain to my family and fellow church members what happened. It was more then worth it to humble myself to get right with God.
Looking back at my life there is a lot to thank the LORD for --- He saved me from drink. -- He saved me from the curse of depression. -- - He saved me from the Roman Catholic Church. --- He saved me from the Pentecostal Church into a Bible believing, God fearing Church who believe and act on the WORD OF GOD. Most of all, the LORD JESUS saved me from my sin, from Hell and eternal damnation to life eternal in Heaven with THE LORD GOD!