I have loved the Lord ever since I can remember. As a child, I was told that I was Catholic, however, my family rarely attended mass. My mother taught me that Jesus died on the cross for my sins so that I could go to heaven if I believed in Him. She also said that He listens to all of my prayers. From childhood on, I have believed in Him and have prayed often.
My aunt, on the other hand, practiced her Catholic faith. She had me memorize the "Our Father", "Hail Mary", and "Glory Be" prayers which ended up being prayed religiously every night before going to sleep. Talking with God before falling asleep usually didnít happen, because I'd doze off as those memorized prayers where being recited. My aunt also taught me the Novena. That is when you pray those repetitious prayers to Saint Teresa everyday for seven consecutive days. Upon completion of the seven days of prayer, Saint Teresa would give you a rose, signifying that she heard your prayers. My aunt said to pray to Saint Joseph when something was lost. He supposedly is the Saint that restores lost things.
Eventually, all of this stuff seemed odd. Praying to saints and confessing to priests never made sense. What need was there for a middleman when I knew to go directly to God and He would listen? Also, I started thinking that the Lord had to be tired of hearing all of those repetitious prayers every night, knowing that He would rather hear me speak to him from the heart using my own words. God was beginning to reveal His desire for intimacy.
Before continuing, I need to clarify that I have absolutely nothing against the Catholic church. There are many Catholics that truly love the Lord and are trusting Him for salvation. It was just the rituals and lack of intimacy that left me knowing that there was more to God. With that said, I will continue...
In 8th grade, my mother accidentally sent me to a private Christian school. She thought it was a Catholic school. God must have had something to do with that mistake. They taught about being "born again." They said when you believe in Jesus you become born again. I replied by saying, "I believe in Jesus, so I guess I am born again, huh?"
At 19 years of age, the hosts of the 700 Club on T.V. were leading their viewers in a prayer for salvation. The thought came that I had better ASK the Lord to forgive my sin and save me instead of taking it for granted that my salvation was already accomplished from believing in Him. So that is when I actually prayed for forgiveness, but I believe, I was already saved as a young child.
Five years went by, until 1991, I had never attended church regularly or spent any time reading the Bible, even though I often talked to the Lord. In 1991, the Lord brought a person into my life to teach me truth from the Bible, which included teaching me about the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
I got filled with the Holy Spirit on June 20, 1991 and my Christian life immediately and drastically changed! The Holy Spirit gave me passion for the Lord, His word, and fellowship (church attendance & making Christian friends). I was baptized in water shortly after receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. My faith and knowledge of God and His word have been growing ever since.
If you are interested, you can read about my experience with the baptism of the Holy Spirit in more detail. It is one of the listed testimonies.
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