Thirty-four years ago this week I made a simple decision that changed everything for me -- I became a Christ follower.
I was raised in a church-going family and even spent 12 years attending schools run by my denomination. Still church, and God, was something done once a week for a little less than an hour, and it never spilled over to regular life. By the time I was 14, attending church seemed like a waste of time. I stopped going, and no one questioned me about it -- not even the pastor of my church who was also one of my high school teachers.
When I was 23 my boyfriend and I would discuss the big issues of life, one of them being God. We came to the conclusion that God existed. My boyfriend worked a night shift, and when he got off work at 5:30 am the only thing on TV was a Christian program. He'd talk to me about what was aired, and we both became intrigued with the concept of a personal God, one who wanted to have a love relationship with us.
The TV preacher suggested that everyone should have a Bible and read it, so we went out and bought a Living Bible. My boyfriend and I lived together. One day when I came home from work he told me he'd called an 800 number to talk to someone about God. He encouraged me to call the same number. The operator invited me to give my heart to Jesus, and I did.
Until then I didn't understand that faith was a choice. I thought we all got to heaven on the group plan -- if you went to church at any time in your life, you were in. If you were a "good" person, you were in.
When we realized there was a God who wanted a relationship with us, we couldn't imagine living a life not knowing and serving Him. We also didn't want to dishonor His name, so about three weeks later we got married.
And the rest, as they say, is history. That singular decision was the best one I've ever made. It's affected every decision I've made since. Every challenge I've ever had and every heartache I've ever endured has been viewed through the prism of His love and the promise of His hope. I'm secure and grounded in my faith, and I wish the same for you.
This Christmas season, I pray you'll open your mind and your heart to know the Jesus who came as an innocent babe and then died, paying the price for your sins, so that you can live, serve Him and spend eternity in His presence.