I had originally planned on continuing with additional details of my old man life. But why drag you through more that, right? So I thought it best to go this direction...
Things didn't get better they got worse for me, ...at first, solely because of the bad choices I made. 2 Peter 2: 22 sums it up:
But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
Frankly, I didn't have the internal strength to resist temptation and continue walking with God and and I went back to my old lifestyle. I did eventually figure a few things out though and today I endeavor to walk with God and learn his Word. And for all practical purposes, isn't that is what we all are trying to do?
The title of the above is based upon the Record of John 8 specifically vss 30-36
30 As he spake these words, many believed on him.
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Years ago these verses of Scripture became my favorites, they were the first Scriptures I had laid to memory. There was a time that I was so enslaved, I was convinced there was no hope for me.
And there was a time that when I heard these Words for the first time ...
...all of a sudden it became clear: the Bible IS more than this huge relic of a book reserved for brief spats in man made ritual. That the Bible WAS God's Word, God's communication to man ... That Jesus Christ God's only begotten Son WAS (and IS) the Word; God's communication to man in the flesh. That the written Word and the Word in the flesh were given so that I, ...so that all could be free...!? Emotions of unworthiness and thankfulness began to work overtime on my stone cold heart!
The above verses jumped of the page and rattled my being, it was as if a 1,000,000 candle light spotlight just lit up!! THERE really is TRUTH available in this world that is layered and layered with LIES, deceit, corruption, pollution, subtle evil that lulls, woos one into accepting the chains and bondage of sin; an evil that fools you in to thinking you have something to protect and guard and not let go of. A curtain of darkness so thick, so heavy...hope for release it would seem, was an exercise in futility!
Yet The Sword of the Spirit with surgical precision began to slice through the spiritual bars that were like a tourniquet to my heart. And for once in my pathetic existence there was reason to keep going, and my heaviness lifted. I could see a light at the end of a dark tunnel, and it was starting to light my way.
Thanks be to God!!
I took Bible classes, went on a mission, took more classes; tripped on the stumbling stones, fell flat on my face more times than I can count. Thought I knew a thing or two about a thing or two... Later learned I was wrong!
Started back over and we keep on pressing forth. I saw a bumper sticker many times that I think is apropos "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven". That pretty much sums it up.
I met my beautiful wife 35 years ago, who like myself was hungry for truth, together we've went forward and are still going.
It was Sept '75 I was sent to Ft Smith, AR in August with eleven other young people like myself. We were going to start home fellowships, run Bible classes, and basically learn how to practically apply the principles in God's Word.
Our responsibility was to work part time and witness and fellowship full time. The people I was sent with were people from all different backgrounds (we didn't know each other from Adam) and we would set up housekeeping etc. One was basically put into a situation where one HAD to walk upon the principles set for in God's Word or suffer the consequences.
At first I was being challenged in the area of finding a job. I landed a job in a 24 hr mini mart working 10pm - 7am: not good hrs. The first night on the Job the owner shows me his Blackjack, and a loaded .45 pistol; tells me "Don't hesitate to use these, cuz, this place gets robbed a lot!"
I worked there for a few weeks and got robbed. The guy walked out with out paying for probably $30.00 worth of groceries I ran after him; he had a sock full of rocks or something and he swung hard, missed nailing me in the head by a hair . . . I wasn't about to shoot somebody for ripping off a few groceries.
Needless to say I quit the job the next day!
Shortly after I left, a woman was abducted and I don't think they found her, or her captors to this day! So, anyway I need a job and wasn't finding one. My family coordinator said to me, "You want to know the secret to getting a job?"
"Want one!" Anyway the next day I started out on foot, on the highway that we lived on, criss-crossing the street and would keep going until I found a job. Two, plus miles and a number of hours later I almost got run over by a crazy women driving an MG crossing the road.
I applied at every possible place I could and frankly I didn't think I would find a job. I was about to talk myself outta this approach, when I see a Pizza Hut across the road and I decide to go to one last place. It's after 2pm, and I am weary, but I check to see if they are hiring. The mnanger comes out and it just so happens that she was the same person that almost hit me in the MG!
She does in fact, hire me! I'm to work lunch rush and Saturdays... she says I'll be helping Tracy on Saturdays (hmmm I wonder what she's like?).
I was to stop by Friday afternoon and pick up my shirt. I met Tracy that Friday PM, and she made my name tag; I was thinking, Wow she's pretty, Should be ok working on Saturdays.
Being a relatively new Christian, I was more enthusiastic, than knowledgable. I personally never cared for high pressure sales or witnessing. Tracy will tell you she had to drag the witness outta of me; I will tell you that it was carefully planned strategy to not scare her off.
Truth is we both know that the hand of God was upon the whole thing. Tracy and I are as different as up and down. There's really no way we'd ever be married except for God. I could make a list a mile long detailing how opposite of each other we are. It took us a while before we learned that you don't fall in love, you fall in a hole.
True Love on the other hand is a decision of the will that manifests itself in giving. Our culture, in my opinion, stresses feelings...feelings come and go...hence the reason for the high rate of divorce! One day the feeling is gone and so people think they've fallen out of love.
Think about it: God so loved that he GAVE...John 3:16. I was taught and I believe that it's true that any two people can stay married IF ... and it's a big IF, they put God first and practice the principles set forth in his Word.
Anyway I was looking forward to working on Saturdays and I would endure the incredible cast of characters all week long so I could work with Tracy. Now Tracy really wasn't looking for a boyfriend, and I was supposed to be focused on witnessing and classes, etc. and that's what I did. But you know in Proverbs 18: 22 it says ...he that findeth a wife findeth a good thing.
And I did!
She was hungry and had loads of questions, and I was more than eager to try to answer them. She ended up witnessing to her entire family, mom, sisters, grandmothers! They all joined the fellowship! I have always been amazed that her family was so meek regarding God's Word; I've concluded it's because they had very little religious background.
We grew the fellowship as best as we could and it was sort of like canoeing through white water rapids: we capsized, fell out, bumped our heads, and kept on moving forward. You know that a quiet stream that has no rocks is safe, but it's the rocks in the stream that make it sing and brings a bit of adventure as you make each bend.
We were married in '76 and I wouldn't trade the time for anything. To me her price is above rubies... (Prov. 31: 10)
It was hard at times; we fluctuated in our walk with God and it took ten years to really grow in commitment to God and his Word, and to each other. A lot can happen in ten years and it did.
I am thankful for Tracy in innumerable way, not the least being that she won't allow me to get old and stodgy in my thinking. God uses the marriage as an example of the one body, the body of Christ.
Now, we have four of the best kids on earth and five of the best grandkids on earth. What else could one ask for? God has blessed us in innumerable ways. Together we are looking at that light at the end of the tunnel. We see through a glass and that we see through it darkly (2 Cor. 13:12). God has released us both from many prisons, and daily helps and blesses us more.
God's Word is inexhaustible, so you always have something to look forward to.
Job 5:8 I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause:
9 Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number:
Psalm 145:3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.
Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
Ephesians 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
Tracy and I have reached the point in life where there is NO turning back! You see God's Word isn't clever anecdotes and proverbs placed in a book - IT IS LIFE!
John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; [makes alive] the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are SPIRIT, and they are LIFE.
We have attended fellowships, and ran a home fellowship for many years; we've been to a number of churches, and may go to a number more. We have witnessed to all kinds of people at all kinds of times, in all kinds of circumstances; seen people delivered and seen them walk away... and come back.
Through the whole thing we still wonder about a lot of things.
God bless you if you have read this far; if you are Christian I think you understand, if you're not I would encourage you to believe - -
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
So If you have any questions I am sure James, or anyone associated with him will endeavor to answer them. God bless you, thanks be to God who always causes us to triumph in Christ. Thanks James for letting me share! Thank you all for reading!
Before I close let me encourage you to think on these things:
Psalm 39:5 Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
As He Is that High Standard...we still fall short, yet it's true: He, that is, Christ Jesus is coming back!
Thats our hope and hope motivates. We can't wait...what a day of rejoicing that will be!!
And there you have it saints, and people, all - the testimony of our dear brother Dan, and his lovely lady, Tracy. We pray that reading this has been a blessing (It certainly has been FOR ME!) and that it has drawn every Christian who's read it, closer to the LORD; and for those who don't know the LORD personally yet, we pray that this testimony has made you thirsty to know He Who is the Living Waters, He Who is Himself: LIFE and TRUTH and LOVE made flesh - God the Son, the LORD Jesus Christ: To Him be all the glory and majesty and praise both now and forever and ever! AMEN!
Brother Dan has been gracious enough to allow me to post his email address, on the chance that some of you would like to ask him questions about how he and Tracy came to know the LORD and his life in JESUS now.
Perhaps some time later he might even encourage his saintly bride to write her own testimony, bringing greater detail into her own conversion and that of her family! If the LORD brings about such an endeavor for her, I could place links to both of their testimonies onto that of the other, so you could read one right after the other one!
His email address is: DanKnoll@aol.com
May the LORD bless you abundantly in Jesus Christ His only Begotten Son!