I wrote my testimony printed below for the First Baptist Church of Frederic Michigan News Letter back in 1973. The Pastor there, Brother Robert Taylor, is my personal hero. My convictions were set in concrete under his ministry through preaching, teaching and by his example. After forty years he still has a vital part in my Christian growth and, knowing that, the KJV Bible is God’s final authority for EVERYTHING, those convictions have seen me through to my 72 years of life.
Why do I tell you this? Because it is vital that Christians recognize Godly friends that God sends their way. I wish I could get every new-born believer into a solid KJV believing, teaching and preaching church whose pastor is tender-hearted with the wisdom of God, as Pastor Taylor’s church was.
Right after I was saved, I was so on fire and could immediately quote a great many Bible verses, but as a new-born 33-year-old baby, I needed lots of “spiritual milk” which Pastor Taylor provided so well.
A thought . . . Why does someone study to be a surgeon, and he gets respect for that, but God’s man, who has put in as much or more in studying theology, is disrespected by every “on-fire”, “get-out-of-my-way”, “I know what’s happening”, new-born Christian? Because they, like me, get blinded by their flesh.
The following letter proves how spiritually immature I was. I suppose Pastor Taylor never corrected anything I wrote because he had TOTAL FAITH in the Holy Spirit to do His job.
Pastor Taylor taught me how to pray publicly; how to win souls; its importance and how a pastor should conduct himself. He gave me opportunities to preach when I was actually kind of like Don Knots while thinking myself to be a Spurgeon (I told you I was spiritually stupid).
One day in heaven I will see Pastor Taylor again, and I look forward to telling him how much I love him. BUT, I ROB HIM because I never became the soul winner, teacher and preacher that I should have.
Have you ever thought about that? “What if I would have been the man God wanted me to be; then Pastor Taylor would have received extra rewards because of my faithfulness to the Saviour.”
I grew into an immature, spiritual cry-baby, feeling sorry for myself and, after I spent years struggling to get back spiritually where I was in Frederic, God moved me into Bethany Baptist Church in Clawson, Michigan.
Pastor Howe was not even close to being a “Pastor” when he took the pastor-ship because no one else would. That was when I started attending. I have a great respect for Church authority and never looked at Pastor Howe as anything but God’s chosen vessel as the pastor of His Church, Bethany Baptist Church, in Clawson, Michigan. Pastor Howe, most likely, was glad I was there, but I got more than he did. He is the perfect example of how God can use a man whose heart is soft and has strong convictions. He was/became another “Pastor Taylor”. Anyone could talk with Pastor Howe and he would never get uppity if they disagreed with him. He was another one who trusted God’s Holy Ghost for the results.
Thank you, God, for giving Your grace and mercy to Pastor Taylor, Howie and me.
The following is very poor writing and the theology is shaky if you don’t read between the lines and take it in context. I have a blog where anyone can read in detail what I have always believed about salvation and baptism: donoterr.wordpress.com. If you struggle through this letter, I hope you will at least see the truth of God working in an ugly me and the redeeming power of Jesus, but, again, keep in mind I was not long saved when I wrote it.
This is what I wrote 33 years ago:
I would like to tell you a little of my past life. I am doing this because I know there is someone reading this who can identify with what I am going to write. God is going to speak to you through this poorly written, but love sent letter.
It is not that I was so bad, although I did almost everything: having hitchhiked across the states, been in a few jails, and have taken a few pills. I could tell joke upon joke with a very vivid imagination for colorful language, and after many years of training I could drink with the best.
Many times I would have a lonesomeness deep inside. I wouldn’t compare it with anything. I would just say – “there has to be something more”. I don’t want to be on my death-bed, an old man, look back and say- “It was for nothing”, so I would try another experience. Sometime the experience I tried was God.
I read a lot and one thing I knew Jesus wanted was bold unashamed men: men to stand and fight for Him. I was also aware that Jesus said, ”be hot or be cold but do not be lukewarm or I will spew you out of my mouth,” ( Revelation 3:15,16) so I would get hot. I would stop drinking and swearing, and this and that. Then for a short time I would witness and praise God. I really would feel great. Then my old self would gradually sneak back a little at a time and there I would be right back to my sinfully selfish self.
As it says in the Bible, “Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death,” (Romans 7:24) you see, I had really never let Jesus into my life.
What I was doing was working to please God or trying to win His favor. Oh I wanted Jesus; I knew what I had read, how Jesus changes lives and gives life. I wanted this, but I wanted Jesus on my terms. I wanted to buy Jesus instead of Him buying me, although at the time I really didn’t understand that I had never really let Jesus into my own heart.
Time and time again I would tell people about the power of Jesus: how that if they asked Jesus into their lives and repent of their sin, Jesus would cleanse them and be with them. They would have a new life, a life filled with power and excitement, love, joy, and peace. How could anyone refuse? But no one really paid much attention; they had heard it from me many times before. In a week or two I would be my old self — again.
Then there came a time in my life when I knew I was powerless to stop drinking and carrying on. I was depressed; I had let Jesus down so many times. I begged God for forgiveness – told Him I was a failure and deserved Hell. Then I said, “Jesus, I will never stop drinking again, even if I feel the urge to stop. I will continue to drink for I am powerless to stop, but I will never stop telling people about You.”
I was aware that Jesus wanted me and it took years for me to realize it, but it could have taken only ten seconds if I would have only gotten me out of the way and then I would have finally understood and believed God.
Soon after I made this decision, I was miraculously shown what I needed to do through the Scriptural teaching on baptism. I had been baptized as an infant, but now I knew what I was doing, I could speak for myself.
I wish space would permit me to write some of the miracles of God that changed my life. I knew that I must surrender my life completely to the Lord because the ordinance of baptism is a picture and a type of death, burial and resurrection. It is a picture of the new birth which is necessary to become a child of God (John 3:3). After baptism, I felt a power; I knew I would walk with Jesus for an eternity.
[I must add this: Baptism doesn't save, faith in Christ alone saves. I have a post on my blog that explains what I believed then and now. Also, certain words that I call "magic words" don’t save either -- It is a heart thing. Romans 10:10, lpb added 2013]
Well, am I still drinking? No! Jesus took away that desire. I would have to force myself and I am not going to do that. Am I saying I have no temptations and everything is down hill? No, I am still like everyone else living in a world controlled by Satan, but now I have Jesus and, though some sins cause me to stumble, I really never fall; you see, Jesus catches me on the way down and helps me back to my feet.”
©2013 Mark Davis