The Abounding Grace of Christ in my life

On Oct 9, 1987, when I was 5 years old, I made a profession of believing in Christ. At about seven years of age, I was baptized. I would like to go ahead and state that I had experienced a false conversion at that time. I showed none of the fruit of a true Christian conversion. I was constantly getting angry at the other kids at school. I never got along with anyone. I was very rebellious toward any authority that asked me to do something I did not want to do. I also had a lack of personal discipline and was "diagnosed" as having ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) - which being translated means; "we have no idea how to handle this kid". I would stare at the ceiling all day long and not pay attention. Because I was not being disruptive, the teacher would merely send me home with my homework and the schoolwork for that day that I had not done. On the way home each day on the bus, the other kids would make fun of me. When I got home, I would be mean to my brother to vent out the frustration. I also would stand and bang my head on the wall in my room out of anger and frustration wanting to inflict pain on myself. I would like to share with you something I wrote December 12, 1991, at age 9. A Friend: By Brian Raaen A friend is a bad thing A friend lets you down A friend is like a war A friend calls you names You call a friend for help a friend does not come?

While I was in the fourth grade (about age 10), my parents figured that because I did all my school work at home, they would just teach me themselves. That next school year I was enrolled as a home study student. In 1993, our family attended the IBLP Basic Seminar; my brother and I attended the Children's Institute (The first one in Atlanta). I was difficult to get to cooperate and was frequently sent to wisdom walk (that was back when wisdom walk was only for children that were a problem). I enjoyed hearing the stories, but felt like I was "too old" to do "childish" things like the hand motions. I saw that I needed the character qualities in my life; however, the changes that I made were only temporary.

When I was 13 and attended my first Basic Seminar, I was sick part of the week. While I was in bed, I was listening to a tape by a well-known speaker. On the tape, he asked if you had doubted your salvation. I thought I had doubted about it before. He said that if you had that you were sinning and did not have enough faith (That statement is heresy, the Bible says to make your calling and election sure.). He explained that you should make it final for once and for all and just have faith. Then he gave a "sinners prayer", that asked for forgiveness for questioning your salvation. I prayed that prayer word for word. I now realize that I had tried to earn salvation by works by thinking that if I prayed the right thing that the Lord would save me. It was as if the Lord owed me salvation for praying the right prayer. I did not repent of my sin, nor see that I was a "sinner". I saw that Romans 3:23 said all have sinned; however, I did not see my personal sins as making me deserving of only damnation to an eternity in hell. I showed no fruit of a true Christian life.

Then July 18, 1999, when a missions choral from our new church (we joined on the 4th of July) returned, one of the young ladies explained that she was saved during the trip. She explained that the Lord had showed her that she hadn't truly been saved. She said that in her mind she was thinking that she was saved, after all she had lead a little girl to the Lord during the trip, and many other things. She then shared that the Lord had shown her the passage of scripture about those that had thought they were saved and said "Lord, Lord have we not done this in your name... and the Lord replies depart from me ye workers of iniquity, I never knew you". (Mat 7:21-23) "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. {22} Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? {23} And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

I remember thinking; "am I really saved?". I tried to push the conviction off as being the devil just tempting me to doubt my salvation. After all, I had prayed the sinner's prayer. That Wednesday one of the men in the church was teaching a Bible study on apologetics. I remember thinking during the Bible study; "I have all this in my head, but is it in my heart?" The next day while Mom was out in our garden picking beans; I told her "I have to get that tape and hear what I prayed". When I went into my room, I felt that I should not listen to the tape, but rather read my Bible and see what it said about salvation. I had read my Bible many times, but verses stood out that had never stood out before. I realized that the only thing I deserved was eternal damnation to hell. I saw how I had sinned before the Lord and deserved His judgment. I also saw that regardless of what I had done that He loved me and died to save me from my sin. I saw that it was only by His shear mercy and grace that He saved me. I was just overwhelmed by God's grace and mercy toward me. Because of the Lord's great mercy, I turned to Him repented of the sin in my life and followed Him.