The first testimonial is about to appear soon; and here it is.
Please enter testimonials of how you became Christian in the reply box below.
The new website has been in existence for a year in June 2013 and no one has entered their testimonial. So to start the ball rolling I thought I would be the first.
I first heard people describe their testimonials of how they had discovered the Christian faith at a service at St. Chad’s. People were asked to volunteer their stories; and they were fascinating to hear.
It was whilst being really ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / ME taking early retirement at the age of 41 from a job I loved, that I began to reflect on life. On some occasions having to rest for 10 hours a day for months I had ample time to think. Apart from medication, there was no input from NHS. In the early days of CFS/ME a sufferer was on his own. It was extremely lonely to be beyond medical knowledge and treatment. In the beginning the depression caused by a viral infection was very intense. Time passed very slowly waiting for a month before the antidepressant medication took effect. I concluded that it would be meaningless to suffer so much pain and then at the end of my life disappear into the void.
God either exists or He doesn’t. It is that simple. I found huge comfort in believing that a loving God did exist. I found an old Gideon bible which I had not really looked at before. Was this coincidental? Some like John Edward would say not. I have learned to have an open-mind on everything; to be ready to contemplate the counter-intuitive.
Biblical quotations were warming and I began to collect them and read them frequently as a way of helping myself feel better.
The most precious thing to me at this time was peace of mind (without anger, jealousy, envy or any other negative emotion). If I could achieve that during most of the day I could hang on until the present brought me to better times.
I started attending St. Chad’s in about September 1980 when Rev’d Peter Watts officiated. I found that attending services was time out from day to day life. They were suffused with joy, praise, wisdom and music. It was a real pleasure that I would miss without it.
Unable to work yet, I was looking around for other fulfilling roles in life; like being a good dad, good husband and good listener was a start, but I noticed Matthew 5:14-16 in which it seems to be apparent that any of us can be a light in the world through our actions and behaviour to others. And another was about the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23. ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law’. I might be ill but I could try to be all these all of the time.
And besides, Jesus in Luke: 6:38 says ‘Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.’ This last sentence is very profound.
I might be chronically ill and unemployable but I could, according to these quotations, develop my own character, something you can take to heaven with you, by all accounts, unlike your financial wealth and property.
I frequently recalled the biblical quotation “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 Corinthians, 2, 9. This quotation seems to be saying that even in a life-time, we have only experienced a fraction of what there is to know. Having an open mind about the spiritual realm seems important.
In having to rest often and I discovered two things. First is what I have come to realise is called mindful meditation. This involves lying down or sitting quietly and focusing the mind on your thoughts, feelings and body sensations occurring at that moment and celebrating all that is right with you; count your blessings.
The other discovery was meditation itself. This involves lying or sitting comfortably and by focusing on your breathing, allowing your mind to empty of its thoughts. You aim to maintain this blank, unthinking, still, state of mind, by gently sweeping away any intrusive thoughts that will often come to mind. Don’t worry about them. Just gently sweep them away. Click on the track below to learn how to do it. It might take 30 seconds for the programme to load; be patient. The volume may need turning up also.
This track is reproduced here with the kind permission of Mike England who is a hypnotherapist in the West Midlands with the website; www.freedomhypnosis.org.uk
It is the single most useful skill I have ever learned. All children, teenagers and adults should be taught how to do it. Instead of turning to violence, drugs, alcohol, self-harming or abuse to relieve fatigue, stress and anxiety, meditation is a much better strategy. It is pure heaven to do and Mike England’s Meditation track is featured here, because it is the simplest, most easily learned tutorial that I have come across.
It was during such meditation that I realised the significance of writers who say that you can be close to God and possibly even experience communications whilst meditating. In fact there are many Christian meditations described in Neil Douglas-Klotz book ‘The Hidden Gospel. Decoding the Spiritual Message of the Aramaic Jesus’.
Whilst in doubt, there seems more to be gained, both physically, mentally and spiritually by believing that God exists. The rules for living described in the New Testament have some scientific support when one reads David Hamilton’s book ‘Why Kindness is Good for You.’ He describes the physical and mental benefit accrued to yourself when showing kindness to others.
Belief was finally confirmed fully after having a strange dream. It appeared to be as a consequence of praying frequently everyday for months, asking to know how two people who had died were getting on in the afterlife. This was entirely congruent with the biblical quotation: Luke 11:9-11 ‘So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened’.
I have started an amazing journey discovering spiritual wisdom which I hope will enrich my time in this life and ease me into the next. If there is an afterlife, I am wondering what happens there and if we have lived once maybe we can live life again; may be many times.
18 November 2013.
All biblical references are taken from www.BibleGateway.com New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.