When Alan is invited to speak anywhere, I always wonder what amazing people we will meet there. The gathering at a small back street church in Portsmouth, England*, was no exception.
There to welcome us in was a Welsh lady with that musical lilt in her voice which all the Welsh have and a brightness in her eyes that most people who know Jesus have. Enid Davies. I soon knew all about her, not because she was pushy, but because I started asking questions.
We were there early, and she was bustling around the church kitchen, so she offered us a cup of tea in the large fellowship room at the back of the church. We soon learned that she was 83 years old, and two years earlier she had painted that room with her friend Dorothy Nichols, in her 70s. Wow, we said, that is amazing.
Then Dorothy arrived and joined the conversation. 'It was Enid's fault,' she joked. 'She started washing the walls and it looked so awful that we had to paint the room.' Once it was all freshly painted, oh dear, the old curtains had to go, and the two ladies got some new ones, all at their own expense. Then it was the turn of the old carpet to get chucked out and replaced - also at their expense. Now the room is bright and fresh and...double wow, what a reward awaits those two servants of Jesus when they meet Him!
I can almost hear Him now: 'Enid...Dorothy...my beloved...well done, good and faithful servants...you have been faithful over a few things; I will make you ruler over many things....enter into the joy of your Lord !'
Enid is from Pontypridd, a village near Merthyr Tydfil, and her father was a miner. Anyone who has seen the movie 'How Green is My Valley' will have some idea of what life was like in rural Wales. Her parents were Baptists, but one Sunday morning they had a preacher from North Wales, and Enid, then 12, and her brother,14, couldn't understand a word he said because of his northern accent.
They went home for lunch and she said: 'My brother kept kicking me under the table, wanting me to ask our father if we could go to the Pentecostal church that evening instead of the Baptist. I waited until the meal was over and then asked him, and he said we could. That night my brother and I both got saved.'
Her brother became a missionary in Africa, and is now retired. He and his wife are both now blind, but Enid said they are not bitter and do not blame the Lord.
Enid is a widow and has lost her only son, Gareth, who died in a road accident in his forties. He was childless, so Enid lost her husband, her son, and has no grandchildren - but I have seldom met such a happy, busy lady. Her very life is a testimony to the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He said if we believe in Him, out of us will flow rivers of living water. That living water is certainly flowing in Enid's life. She could easily be a miserable, whining old woman, complaining about her fate, but instead she has Christ in her heart, and is a vibrant lady full of laughter and trying to be helpful in any way she can.
Dear reader, if you have never had the experience of coming to know, really know, the Lord Jesus, you need to have it now! He said we have to be born again, to be born spiritually. He also said He would NEVER turn anyone away! So you can come to Him, even today, whatever your life has been like.
Enid wasn't old enough to have many sins, but we are ALL sinners, and it does not matter how bad you have been. Jesus died that horrific death on the cross, shedding His holy blood as a sacrifice for sin. His blood WILL be sufficient to wash away the worst sins of the worst sinner. You can come to Him and be forgiven right now. All you have to do is believe that Jesus, God Himself, was born so that He could die as a physical man for our sins, so that He could satisfy perfect justice, taking the punishment we deserve, paying the penalty Himself for our sins.
What, you say you haven't sinned? Please read the 10 Commandments. Everyone on earth falls at number one (worship God with all your heart); most fall at number two (don't reverence any statues or divine images or anything else at all); millions fall at number three (don't use the Lord's name in vain...so have you ever said 'Oh my God' or 'Jeez' - you are guilty, my friend)....and so on.
You need to have your sins forgiven because otherwise they will send you to Hell. What, you don't believe in Hell? Jesus told us what it is like. He spoke about the rich man who went there and was in agony, begging for water to cool his tongue. He didn't get any. He had his chances in life, and neglected them all.
Don't neglect this chance; it may be your last. Open your heart to Jesus today. What have you got to lose? You're going to get old and die and end in Hell if you don't know Jesus. He is the only Savior; there is no other way. He is the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Him. Time is very short, folks. If you do not know Jesus as your Savior, you are damned, condemned forever to Hell.
It is time to get serious, to get right with God. Please do not let this moment go. Make up your mind. Nothing on earth is worth as much as your eternal soul.
The night I (Pat) gave my heart to Jesus was in 1981, after I had read the gospels of Matthew, Mark and half of Luke over a period of about 10 days. I was 36 years old. By the time I got to the middle of Luke, I knew the Bible was all true and Jesus was real, had really done all the miracles, was truly God's holy Son, had really died horribly, been buried and rose again on the third day. Those are the basic facts of the gospel. You must believe those things to be saved.
As I read through the gospels, I was stricken. I was sick at heart, because I could see how wonderful Jesus is, and for 36 years I had missed out and even used His holy name as a swearword. I knew I deserved to go to Hell, because I was a sinner. Hell was my destination for all eternity; I could see that.
So one evening, after reading further in the gospel of Luke, I could not stand it. I went upstairs and knelt down in the bedroom to pray, something I never did. Thoughts assailed my mind to stop me: 'Your friends will think you're crazy; you'll lose your friends.' I batted that thought away with: 'I don't care if I lose every friend.' Then came: 'He might ask you to give away your money.' That one got batted away with: 'It's all His anyway; He made everything; He owns everything; I could not take one more breath if He did not allow it.'
Then the evil thoughts were gone and I could pray. This is what I prayed: 'Lord Jesus, I know Your book is true (the Bible), every word. I know You did all those miracles. I know you are the Son of God. I know You died on the cross. I am a sinner. Could you ever forgive my sins? (Here I listed all the things He already knew; they came one by one into my mind and I confessed them all.) Please forgive me. Please let me be one of Your people.'
I cried and cried, and never thought that He would hear my prayer. I thought I was too bad to be one of His people. I thought He only wanted 'good' people. I didn't know then that there are no people good enough. The Bible says ALL have sinned and fallen short.
That was the night I threw in my lot with Jesus; that is the night I was born again, born spiritually. That is the night I was forgiven, washed clean, sealed with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of my inheritance. It took me a while to learn all that, but I found all that out as I continued reading the Bible, started going to church, and found Christian friends.
Now my job is to tell people about their need for Jesus, to warn people about the fires of Hell awaiting them, to warn them that they are on the broad path to destruction, and they need to get on the narrow path that leads to eternal life.
My job is to tell people this: 'You must be born again!' Jesus said: 'For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Sor God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
'He that believes on him (Jesus) is not condemned; but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.' John 3 16-18
When it comes right down to it, there are only two types of people in the world: people who accept Jesus Christ and follow Him and people who reject Him. The first group are going to be with Him for eternity. The second group will be in the lake of fire for eternity. It is that stark a choice.
Everyone who comes to Christ comes a different way. He loves variety! If He didn't make two snowflakes alike, no two Christians are going to be alike either in their testimonies. The way I came may not be your way, but make sure your heart is open to Him. Make sure you get through that narrow gate which Jesus said leads to life.
*South Road Church, Drayton, Portsmouth, England.
** Like all my articles, you may copy this and give it out; in fact I really hope you will. I pray that this one and others might be used to open people's eyes to their true condition. It is horrible to think of all those people who reject Jesus and end in Hell.