I know the Lord has sent you here. If you love the Lord you already know that all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to His purpose. Rom 8:28. A few months ago I wouldn't have told you this because I was in such a dark place in my life that I doubted there even was a God, and if there was I was sure I wasn't worthy of any blessing from Him. So much has changed in a few short weeks and I give my Saviour all of the glory for saving me from my hopeless despair. If you desire the most intimate relationship with God, hope, joy and a peace you have never known, let me share with you exactly how to achieve that desire:
When I was five years old, my mother joined the Seventh-day Adventist church. (My parents divorced when I was two.) I was at the end of my kindergarten year and about to graduate into first grade. I remember going to a big auditorium and seeing my mother being baptized. I didn't know how dramatically this would impact my entire life. I was told I couldn't eat sausage at the kindergarten anymore, and it was one of my favorite foods. Then my graduation I had looked so forward to was on a Friday night and I was told we couldn't attend, so a few family members came to our house and we celebrated there. I never complained, but I was the one who had to stand in front of my father's side of the family at 5 years old and explain to them that I couldn't eat meat or dairy products and was treated by them, I felt, like an outcast.
I attended SDA schools 1st-12th and was baptized at the age of ten. I was obedient for the most part, I believed in the church as I grew older, but so many questions were always in my mind. At around age 11, I had a terrible stomach ache and prayed to God that if He would take my stomach ache away I would read the Bible everyday for the rest of my life. It immediately went away and I had a promise to keep, praise the Lord for that stomach ache! For the next 9 or 10years I kept my promise and at times the scriptures toubled me. I remember around the 9th grade reading Romans 14 and feeling very confused. Paul says "One person esteems one day above another; another esteems everyday alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day observes it to the Lord" I thought, well that seems pretty clear but surely it doesn't mean what I think it means. Then he went on to say he considers nothing unclean in itself..... These verses troubled me, lots of things troubled me. One Christmas I was given a pair of earrings to wear on my collar, it was a fad at the time, and I was somewhat a rebellious teenager and asked, "What difference does a few inches make? Why can't I just wear them in my ears?" I thought about Billy Graham and what a great man of God he seemed to be and thought, "Why doesn't he know about the sabbath?" I'd pass a church of some other denomination and see it being built on to and think, "Why are they being blessed with more members?" As I got older I started noticing the attitudes and lives of other christians and could see and feel their joy and when I went to my own church I saw a group of people with solemn faces, little emotion, they all seemed so sad to me. I knew I was sad but it must be because I wasn't trying hard enough to be close to God. I tried to read the Bible but it became a chore and I tried to read Ellen White but even as a child I didn't like her and could never seem to find any common ground with her. She seemed like an extremist to me and I avoided her. As I became an adult, I drifted away from God and my faith, went through two failed marriages and at age 32, with 3 kids, a decent job, a relatively comfortable life, I decided maybe there wasn't a God and I had spent my whole life not having any fun for nothing. I never became a junky or an alcoholic. I don't have any great street-to-God testimony to share with you. I was just like a lot of people in this world, living an empty,society-productive, mundane life that brought little joy.
I reconciled with my second husband and we were "living in sin" but what difference did that make since we pretty much both knew we weren't going to heaven anyway. We bought a house in a new neighborhood and some neighbors moved in beside us. We became friends quickly and after a few months they started going to church. Oh no! They wouldn't be any fun anymore! After a couple of weeks they asked us to go, I said no, my ex said yes and I figured it might help him out so I'd go, but God forbid, it was on a Sunday! When we drove up I thought, "What am I doing here?" I'd been warned! It was held in a barn and that didn't bother me much but these Sunday keepers were the enemy right? When I walked in, the people stood up one by one and hugged me and my kids and ex and greeted us like they'd known us for years! When I met the preacher I could see a peace in him that I knew without a doubt to be God in his life. I didn't want to go back because I was not in my comfort-zone, even though I liked it, I got a strong blessing from the sermon, I just didn't want to go back. My ex did and I thought I better support him since he never wanted to go to church before. We started going every time the doors opened. I felt closer to God than ever before, but I was confused. I knew I better get busy studying my Bible so that I could show these people the truth! My ex gave his life to the Lord at the alter, in the barn, and scheduled the next week to be baptized in the river. We remarried and I started studying! I got my Bible out and looked up every scripture I could find under sabbath, then commandment, then law. As I read the words before me I couldn't believe my eyes! I was reading about faith and grace and old covenent and new covenent and laws of Moses and Commandments left after the cross and I prayed, "God, show me the sabbath so that I can enlighten these people. Lord, they're good people and they need the truth, help me out here!" I still read what I thought to be saying I am under grace and not works or the law.
I was at work on a Tuesday before lunch and got the dreaded call from daycare that my son was sick and I had to pick him up. I seldom miss work and I never like to be out, but I had to go home. I picked my son up and he was sick! I prayed for the Lord to make him well so I could go to work the next morning, I had faith and I got up Wednesday at the regular time to get ready and he was still sick. I took the opportunity to study my Bible some more. This went on for the rest of the week. At some point in the week I changed my prayer to: "God, I want to do your will, these scriptures seem to be pointing me to something I've never been taught and I need to know this is your will. Whatever your will is, I want to do it." He led me to scripture after scripture explaining to me so plainly that Jesus died on the cross to save me from my sin and the ordinances of the law and that was the only thing that could save me! I felt like a million pounds had been lifted off of me and I was so happy and excited, I just had to call everyone and tell them! I called my cousin who recently started going back to the SDA church about my revelation and she assured me that I still had to keep the 4th commandment despite the grace. I knew it didn't say in there anywhere that I had to go to church on Sunday, so was she right? I searched some more and prayed and found Hebrews 4:4-9: For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: And God rested on the seventh day from all His works"; and again in this place: They shall not enter My Rest." Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and to those whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, "Today," after such a long time, as it has been said: Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts." For if Joshua had given them rest, he He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.
WOW!!!! It wasn't a day, it was a permanent peace, a rest like you can never know until you've been saved by grace! I noticed it was capitalized too. I prayed, "Lord, let me know without a shadow of a doubt that it is true!"
Next, he sent me to Hebrews 10:32&35: ( But recall the former days in which after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and enduring possesion for yourselves in heaven. Therefore, do not cast away your confidence which has great reward.) I can not describe to you what I felt when I read those verses, every hair on me stood up, every chill bump came up and the presence of God was so strong I can not find words to describe it. I just know my life hasn't been the same since. God speaks to me now and I know it's Him, He's in my life everyday, I can't get enough of the Bible! This will always be my favorite scripture because it was the first time of many that I knew God had spoken to me.
If you have any doubt in your life about anything, claim this promise with faith: James 1:5-7 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
I welcome any questions or comments from any of you. However, my only request is that if you seek to disprove anything I've said, first go to the Lord and ask His wisdom in your response. Don't ever take a person's word for anything! There is one word, the Word of God. Within that Word is everything you need to know and God is so willing to show it to you, all you have to do is ask, without doubting!
God Bless You All, and my prayer is that you will find the awesome love of The Father.
Sabra M. Reed
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SABRA M. REED