My Spiritual Journey - Pt 1

I made a profession of faith in a Baptist Church when I was about 8 yrs old. God had revealed to my heart that hell was real. I knew you needed Jesus to go to Heaven so I asked Jesus to save me. Being raised in a home that was not conducive to spiritual growth and a lack of making Jesus Lord of my life resulted in me making friends and decisions that led me into living a life of sin.

Even though I lived in the flesh I never lost my belief in God or that I was saved.

Though my mother drew away from God over the years I still attended Church through the rest of Elementary School and through Junior and Senior High School.

When I left home to go to college I attended Church some in my freshman year. Afterward, though, I stopped going to Church.

Sin grew in my life as each year passed. Later in life God allowed sin to take its toll. It brought death to me intellectually, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. But before sin completed its work in me God allowed me to graduate from college and to attend graduate school.

I was not successful in graduate school. I 'flunked' out of three schools and eventually after having lost two jobs I had to go back home to live with my mother.

At the suggestion of my boss at the shipping yard where I worked as a Junior Draftsman, I returned to graduate school so I could get another degree that would enable me to get a better paying job.

It was December 10, 1976. I had just found out what my grades were for my first quarter in graduate school at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT). I was worried. I had received one B, 2 C's, dropped a course, and had to cheat to get the grades I got. I knew that if I didn't do better the next quarter I would be kicked out of school. There would be no more chances to get another degree and to get a good paying job. That meant that I would have go back home to live with my mother, and work as  a $3/hr draftsman (which gave me no hope of having anything in life).

Worried, depressed because I couldn't succeed, and having nothing to do, I picked up a Bible that was in my hotel room that was being used as a dorm room and began to flip through the pages. I could not read anywhere until I came to a passage in Matthew 6 (Matt 6:25-33) where Jesus was talking to His disciples about not worrying about what they were going to eat and what they were going to wear. He talked about how God fed the birds when they neither sowed nor reaped. He told them how God beautifully adorned the lilies of the field and they neither toiled nor spinned. He told them how much more valuable they were to God than the birds and the lilies. He said that life consists of more than food and clothes. Then Jesus said, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33).

My mind was clouded; it was numb. I did not understand anything I read. When I came to Matthew 6:33, for some reason, I read it twice.

Immediately afterwards, the Lord spoke to me in my mind saying, "Pat, put me first in your life and I will take care of what you are worried about." He repeated it twice, just like I read Matthew 6:33 twice. Then He said, with a little anger in His voice, "You have been trying to run your life apart from me!"

Immediately after He said that, my mind cleared out. I knew that God was real, and that I had sinned against God and God alone. He showed me my life after I left home to attend college. I saw how my actions and my choices destroyed my life. Then I began to pray. "Yes, Lord, you are right. I have been trying to run my life apart from You, and I made a mess out of it." I repeated to Him how I understood how my sin destroyed my life. Then I said, "I'll put you first in my life. I will go to Church and I will tithe."

I went home for the Christmas holidays.

The first Sunday after I returned to school, I remembered that I had promised God I would go to Church. So, I went.

I continued to go every Sunday and later on Wednesday nights too.

Then, when I received my first pay check, I remembered that I had promised God that I would tithe. So, I did.

The next day after I paid my tithe, my life changed. God increased my finances by giving me a tutoring job. I became a better student and a better teacher. I went from being an introvert to being an extrovert. I went from being a failure to being a success.

God changed me in many other ways too. I use to be entertained by sinful programs on TV. No longer did sin entertain me and I stopped watching TV. My study habits changed.

I graduated with a 3.5 average (up from the 2.333 I had my first term) and I got a good paying job at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Tx with a NASA contractor.

I was faithful to my commitment to God to put Him first in my life and God was faithful to His promise to take care of what I was worried about.

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