Strange isn’t it? I came to Christ via a Muslim, or another way to say it was that a Muslim pointed me ultimately in the direction of Christ! You might be thinking, hang on, this bloke (Aussie slang for man) is either a moron or that original statement is an oxymoron. I hope you are kind and go with the last option and ignore the first one! My name is Bayou and this story is how I came to be a water baptized, born again Christian. Yes, one of those stereotypical read-about-online, Jesus following, crazy, conservative, on the right Christians.
So why do people become born again Christians? Hopefully, this story will answer that question and not freak you out too much. Lets now walk through just what happened to me via the storyline below.
- I’ve always felt lucky
- Into the washing machine
- A glimpse of God via a Muslim
- Running away again
- A slap to wake me up
- Coming home
On a serious note, there is a purpose in sharing my experience with you as well as the story of Jesus on the cross. Hopefully, by sharing my testimony I can show you God’s hand and love at work in my life and let you know that God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ can do the same for you if you need him. It’s a free gift and all you have to do is ask.
Please do enjoy this read courtesy of myself and don’t forget to add any questions/thoughts /comments below when you are done.
I’ve always felt lucky
Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV ” For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”
I’ve always felt lucky. Maybe I was always blessed but didn’t know it? I was born into a large family and had a great Mum and still have a great Dad but there were times growing up when our home was subject to alcohol abuse, anger, violence, and fear, as well as some demonstrations on what not to do in a marriage. Apart from all of this stuff going on, I always felt that everything I would experience, no matter how bad, seemed to work out for the better.
When I became a young father myself in my 20s, I always swore that my home and my relationships would never look like the stuff I experienced as a boy. How wrong I was, as life moved on into the next 20 plus years…………
Into the washing machine
Isaiah 1:19 NKJV “if you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword;” for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
With the benefit of hindsight today, I can most certainly say this is the part of my life where I made stupid decisions as a younger man that has had life long consequences, even on into today as a born again Christian. By the time I was 38, I was dealing with the wreckage of two failed de facto relationships as well as the trauma that is ever-present when there are children involved. My list of all time “greatest hits” would keep any psychologist in work for years and include:
- alcohol and drug abuse
- constant anger issues
- occasional negative interactions with law enforcement
- occasional suicidal tendencies (but for the grace of God I made plans for but never seriously pursued)
- multiple failed relationships and broken families, kids, etc
I remember telling a friend one day that the constant up and down of life during these times really did feel like I was caught in a huge washing machine. Or when you’re swimming in the surf and a big wave smashes you and sends you tumbling end over end and there is not a single thing you can do about it. The only thing I felt I could do at this time was to get back upright and get ready to be smashed again by the next “wave”.
A glimpse of God via a Muslim
2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV
“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land”
This is where I probably got my first glimpse of God or maybe I could put it another way and say this is where I saw my first “attention grabber” thrown out by God! After the fall of the twin towers in New York in September 2001 and probably up until the present day, all I remember seeing on television and online were images of Muslim fighters.
The conflict looked the same day in and day out, except for one thing. In some or most clips these fighters did something that got me thinking. They laid down arms and got on prayer rugs and humbled themselves in prayer to a God. I remember thinking, there is something in that act that appealed to me deeply. I also remember going to a church not long after that at my Mums’ request and seeing the same thing, grown men who seemed to quite capable in life, raising hands and humbling themselves in worship to God.
*A side note here I’d like to mention is that today I firmly believe the God the Muslims prayed to is not the same God of the Bible, but that is another theological discussion for another time*
Running away again
Psalm 139 7-10 NKJV
“Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me”
So here I am at this stage of my life where I thought I had given my life to Christ but in reality, I had said yes to the commitment in my head but my heart didn’t really agree with the deal at all. This became apparent in my own behavior such as :
- Committing to Christ but still wanting the true desires of my heart, none of which included Christ.
- Reading the bible and coming across stuff in there that didn’t make sense and just getting angry with God and saying “to heck with this, I’m outta here!!
- Doing the “coming and going” act a couple of times and just leaving God whenever it suited me, which was fairly often.
An odd aspect of this was that through all of those up and down years of traveling and working I always kept an old King James Version Bible that my sister had given to me years before. I used to carry it with me everywhere in my travels and I still have it on my bedside to this day. I don’t know why, maybe I thought it was some sort of lucky charm, but I knew one thing for sure. I just couldn’t bring myself to throw it in the next rubbish bin I came across…
A slap to wake me up
Psalm 119:67 NKJV “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.”
I had this smack on the back of the head coming to me for 46 yrs, 6 years more of wilderness wandering than the Israelites in the book of Numbers 14:32-35. Their journey was “extended” by God after they failed to trust in Gods’ promises, forget the recent miracles they had witnessed, and truly appreciate just what the covenant relationship between themselves and God meant. Man, that strong headedness (is that even a word) sounded a lot like me !!
I have always loved sports and maintaining some sort of physical training after developing these habits in a military career as a younger man. In December 2016, I noticed that I was getting weaker and weaker during physical training each week at home and at my job on a remote mine site in Western Australia.
On Christmas eve 2016 the “wake up call message” was delivered to me in person. After experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath at work, I was immediately taken to the medical station on the remote mine site that I was at work on. After a phone consultation with a Cardiology specialist in the nearest capital city(1600kms), it was decided that I would be medivaced via air to this cardiology ward for further treatment.
After being transported to this ward on Christmas day 2016, further tests revealed I had suffered as the doc put it, a “heart event” as compared to a heart attack. Maybe he didn’t want to say the “a” word just to make me feel better! Long story cut short, a pipe on my ticker was starting to close and by boxing day 2016 mid-afternoon, I had a new implant inserted to get my heart back to functioning again ok.
At the time and even on into today, I considered this health event to be the best Christmas present that I ever received. I considered it to be God’s way of saying ‘”hey, stop what you are doing and pay attention to what I am trying to tell you… I have a plan for your life and what you are doing at the moment ain’t it, so listen up!!”
Luke 15:24 NKJV ” For this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”
Well, the heart stuff changed everything in my life drastically and within 3 months, I had quit that well-paid but grueling job and lifestyle and was left wondering, how do I survive now as well as a myriad of other issues. April 2017 to January 2018 was pretty hard personally for me as I was dealing with:
- never-ending fear and anxiety after coming through that heart event
- huge financial stress
- starting a new business to try and make a living again
- very little income
- facing homelessness
- dealing with constant family issues
In hindsight, It was almost like a “boot camp” designed by God, designed to peel away the bad stuff to get to my core to start rebuilding again!! One day in January 2018 I decided to dig out that old KJV bible that I had been lugging around for years and start reading it again.
I do remember a distinct turning point for the better at about midway of this year. I dragged myself to church one Sunday morning after crying out to God in prayer all week and asking for some real relief/help from all of it. As I sat pretty despondent in the congregation, these words flashed up on the screen behind the band :
Isaiah 43:19 NKJV Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.”
Those words broke me because I felt like I had been walking in a desert and wilderness with no help, but I also knew that God had heard me and was with me and would never leave me.
By December 2018 I had read the bible cover to cover. As I worked my way through the Bible, I found and saw constant evidence of :
just who God is
the reason for our existence
the narrative of what our true relationship to God and his son Jesus Christ should look like among a host of other things in the Bible
the purpose of the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ on the cross 2000yrs ago for me as well as for all of us!!
By march 2019 I had accepted Christ as my personal Lord and savior and had the gift of the holy spirit. But like the Ethiopian in Acts 8:36 but I also had an “urging” to get water baptized. That sealed the deal for me, that water baptism to me was my “marriage” to Christ, my commitment to follow Jesus all my days!!
Psalm 119:105 NKJV
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”
Today my life is vastly different from what it was before. It’s a total 180 degrees in direction to where it was going before. Today I live a life that I could only dream and hope for before in airport lounges and long haul flights across the country on my way to and from work. All of the very real physical, financial, emotional, mental mountains I faced before in all those previous years of turmoil have dissolved away out of existence for me.
Of course, life is still tough, there’s no getting away from that for any of us on this earth, born again Christian or not. The big difference for me now after accepting Christ into my heart and life can best be described like this. Before I was lost and now I’m found just as described in that old hymn “amazing grace”. Not only am I found, but now I also have a “map and a compass” to guide me !!
Well, that’s my story folks on how I came to know Christ and the one true living God. God the father and his son Jesus Christ really do deserve all of my praise, honor, glory, and love, after all, I put them through to get me to wake up and head home !!
I don’t know where you, the reader, are in your life right now, but I do want you to know one thing before you go:
Jesus Christ loves you, died for your sins, and has a gift of abundant life now, salvation and everlasting life just waiting for you and all you have to do is ask for it !
Thanks heaps for stopping by and checking out my story, I do hope it has been of benefit to somebody, somewhere!!
Stay blessed !!
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