Hi, my name is Ian and I am one of Jeanine's friends from down under and to the right a bit, New Zealand. I had the privilege and pleasure of meeting her in February this year and she took me to Mt St Helens and out to the coast of northern Oregon. She is one of those precious people in life who has both wisdom and character. Well, she asked me to write my testimony and it is an honor to do that.
My life story is pretty boring really, but it has been a journey of growth and changing attitudes. I am the third son in a family of four boys. Mum made us attend Sunday school when we were young. I did not learn much abut Jesus there as I recall, but I went along until I was 13 when we were allowed to make up our own mind about attending or not.
At that age I decided to try elsewhere and moved from church to church until I met my best friend Allen and his Christian family and they basically adopted me. They taught me much about God, Jesus and how to follow Him day by day. That was fine until I decided to move to Australia to live at age 20.
It was while I was there that I moved away from God and took to drinking and partying. After one year of this I returned to New Zealand and settled down and went back to attending church. I soon got married and then along came my daughter, Sara. Four years later Hamish was born. Both children were raised in our Christian home, full of love and joy and plenty of everything they needed materially. I had a good job and my wife and I were both serving in our local church.
However I had an important role in a bank and slowly and surely this and my life style were placed before God. Sure I praised His name, worshipped Him and did my best to serve Him, but little did I know this God of the heavens who was not at that time the true Lord of my heart.
After 16 years of marriage my wife announced that she was having an affair and we parted company. I was devastated. Prior to this we had lost our home to repay debtís as my income had dropped and we were having trouble paying our bills.
Now with my family taken from me and no home, I was living on my own and wondering what on earth had gone wrong. Why did I deserve this? I was confronted with two choices, to either embrace God or reject Him. Joshua 24:15-16
This embarked me on a course of self-development and searching, seeking this God who was supposed to love me and take care of me. I refused to let go of Him and I clung close and started to realize that the God I worshipped and served before was totally different to the one I know now. James 1:2-6
I found that He is a God that does care and that it is not easy, it is not a picnic to follow Him day by day; itís actually a choice. Math 10:38-39
A short time ago a teenage girl, who was searching for some answers about God, asked me why I became a Christian. It was a very powerful question, one that I had not thought about for some time.
My answer was, initially because I wanted to go to heaven, not hell. But after 30 years as a follower of the ďLiving GodĒ and being graciously taken through what has been the most dramatic learning experience in my entire life, I now can say I follow Him because of the promises for me in His word. 2 Corinthians 7:1
He did not ever say that our life as a Christian would be a pleasure cruise following Him. He did say that we were to take up our cross and follow Him, which means that it is His life we now live and not our own.
To all those who are suffering through broken hearts, rejoice that God really does care. He knows us closer and more intimately than any one. Trust in Him; submit to Him, in every area of your life. Donít try to keep an area back for your self, because it will cause the relationship with Him to be less effective and meaningful. Romans 12:12
If you have someone close to you, your spouse, your child, your parentís or siblingís that hold a higher place in your life than God, confess it to Him and hand it over.
I am convinced through hours of study, time with my Father in prayer, time in His word and talking to many learned and devoted Christians, that it is not what happens to us in life that countís, but how we think about it. Romans 12:2
He loves us, so much more than I could ever hope to explain here.
If you are choosing to walk away from Him today, if you have a marriage that you know should or could be better, then start with yourself and get right with God today. If you are in business and everything is not above board, confess this to Him and put it right, even if it causes loss of income. He will see you right for your faithfulness.
If it is sport or some hobby that you place higher than God, give it over to Him. If it is TV or something else, hand it over. Donít put anything before Him, unless it is your life. All you have comes from Him; He knows your comings and goingís. 1John 1:9
Well thatís all from me, I am passionate about my God. I want people to know Him as I do, or even better. Oh give thanks unto His name, forever.. Amen
Editor's Note: We don't have a current email address for Ian, but have hear that he is now happily married and enjoying the blessings of God. If you happen to have a working email addy for him, please send it our way, with his permission of course. Thanks - firstname.lastname@example.org