Monday, 18 September 2017

The story of my life 12: "The delay to receive the Holy Spirit"

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The pastor always sought the Holy Spirit in the meetings. Once when we went to evangelize an assistant started talking about this subject. I was interested, however I did not think it was possible. How can something so Holy and Pure dwell within me, full of mistakes and sin? How is it possible to speak in tongues ​​like the pastor? This was something really supernatural and for sure only for very special people. How would it happen to me?

Here was the answer to why even though I had more than a year in the church I was not yet baptized with the Holy Spirit! Simply because I didn’t believe! How can we achieve something we don’t believe in? I can only receive what I believe in. Without faith there is no miracle. I did not need to understand how it would happen, or how God would do it. I just needed to believe and leave my emotion aside. One thing I was sure: I needed a Savior, without Him I would continue lost. This Word is very clear:



“Jesus answered, Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.” John 3.5



There was no use to be inside of the church and out of the Kingdom God. I was already baptized in the waters, but I wasn’t yet born of the Spirit. When I believed that it was possible for all who believe, then I saw my need. So I decided to seek Him with all my strength. I remember that I fasted and prayed. I wanted to show God that I really wanted Him more than anything else. In the summer of 1993 we went camping. Every vacation we would go somewhere with my parents, but this year was different. I would not turn away from my purpose. I remember that I’d wake up every day at 6am, go to the beach, though it was still empty, and I’d seek the Holy Spirit alone. The pastor held a meeting every Sunday at 6pm for the assistants and the candidates, so I used to attended it.



In September, in one of these meetings my answer arrived. Something supernatural happened and I received the Holy Spirit! An immeasurable peace, joy, and an extraordinary force invaded my being. From that day on I was sure that God was with me. I was not alone! How wonderful! The assurance was the biggest sign! I was so happy that I felt so powerful lol.

With the Holy Spirit in my life, all the complexes of inferiority ended, all the negative feelings about myself disappeared. I never had “problems” with my body again. I no longer felt inferior than other people. My interior was transformed. The desire to serve God was born. That young girl who did not want to be an assistant before, now wanted to be used in His work. Of course I couldn’t imagine being a pastor's wife. I only wanted to serve as an assistant and help people. In addition to attending the meetings on Sunday morning, I continued to attend the meetings on Sunday at 6pm. I wanted more! In the next post I'll tell you when I was raised as an assistant.



Have you been baptized with the Holy Spirit yet? What are you doing about it?





Thursday, 14 September 2017

The story of my life 11: "I did not want to be an assistant"




I always went to church with my mother, my sister and my boyfriend. We had been going for almost a year now, but I always said that I did not want to be an assistant. I went to school, so I thought that if I became a helper I’d need a lot of time and could not fulfill my studies. I didn’t participate in any group of the church, the youth group, not even the evangelization group. However,  some time after, I started to desire to get more involved with the things of God. I really enjoyed being in the church.

So in the summer vacation of 1992 I joined the evangelism group. We would go in the streets to talk about Jesus. I’d paid attention to what the assistants said so I could learn. We went to talk about Jesus to the prostitutes, we also said the good news to the beggars, and everyone we saw on the streets.
Once the pastor asked me, “My daughter are you firm like the walls of Jericho?” I had never heard of walls of Jericho. What would that be? But I thought, if they are walls they must be strong lol so I answered “yes sir.” The pastor laughed and left. Then when I read about the walls of Jericho that God made fall down for His people to come and conquer the promised land, I felt so ashamed of the answer I gave, but there was nothing more to be done. Now it's a joke. Even writing about it I still laugh; but not at that time.

It is sad when we do not know the Word! I keep thinking of the thousands of people who are deceived by not having the knowledge of the Truth! That’s why the importance of announcing the gospel as much as we can.
Everything was going well, however I lacked something very important and indispensable! I will speak about it in the next post.

Have you ever made a mistake by not knowing the Word of God?
Have you ever been ashamed of it? Share it with us!


Tuesday, 12 September 2017

The story of my life 10: When I was baptized in the waters




At that time, baptizing people in the waters was not so common in our churches like it is now. Since the church didn’t have a baptistery, that made it a little difficult because it was necessary to rent a club that had a swimming pool in it, and so baptize the people. I was baptized in the waters in April of 1992, in the pool of the Fluvial Portuense Club. It was an indoor swimming pool. It took me a while to make the decision, but it was a conscious step. Baptism brings responsibilities! It means repentance of sins, death of the old life, and birth for a new life with Jesus!

Then one should not get baptize in the waters because s/he sees others doing it, to be healed, or because s/he wishes to be part of a certain denomination. But because s/he is determined to abandon sin and live according to the Word of God. The wrong attitudes and feelings stay in those waters; then s/he rises from the waters determined not to live in sin anymore. This is also part of our conversion. Whoever converts us to God it’s ourselves. It means that we convert to God but God doesn’t converts us. It's a personal decision!

Too bad I don’t have pictures of that day, but it was very special! A lot of people got baptized. I saw that everyone was happy and they smiled when they left the waters. That day I showed God that I truly wanted to follow Him, that it was not a joke.

In 2011 when I went to Israel with the Godllywood group from Miami-USA, I had the opportunity to get baptized in the Jordan River. The waters were freezing because it was winter, but I could not miss this chance. It was more than special!

“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:16

Have you already made the decision to start a new life with Jesus?


Here are some pictures of my baptism in Israel:




Thursday, 7 September 2017

The story of my life 9: "A mistake I made"



I was a very emotional young woman and it really messed up my spiritual life. I cried for nothing. I was indeed very sentimental! If I were to idealize something and it did not happen exactly as I had imagined, that was already a source of sadness. I think I made high expectations about certain people and situations and when it did not come out as I expected it was like a bucket of cold water on me. And the only way I knew how to deal with it was by being emotional. I always cried because of my dilemmas. Sometimes I got angry at myself.

I did not like being this way. I wanted to be stronger, more secure and determined but I did not know how. Going to church was always very helpful. The teachings, the strong prayers and being able to talk to God expressing everything that was happening inside of me was something liberating. However I did not know how to speak to God as I should. I did not know how to use my faith! In my prayers I tried to make God sensitive; I wanted Him to feel sorry for me and then answer me. Since I was very emotional, I wanted to use emotions before God.

I thought that if I cried during my prayers, God as a loving father, would be sensitive to my suffering. How wrong I was! God needed to see my faith and not my tears, but I did not know that. As long as I used emotion I could not be sure of the answer. I made this mistake until I learned that God is faith and we approach Him through faith. Even though He is a loving and merciful Father, we need to manifest our belief through our faith. When I started doing that, things worked out so much better.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

Have you ever made this mistake? Share your experience with us. In the next post I will write about a very important decision I made at the time. I’ll be waiting for all of you!


Monday, 4 September 2017

The story of my life 8: "When I told about Jesus to my boyfriend"


 
We had been going to the church for about three months when I invited Joaquim to join us. I felt so good there and I wanted him to experience the same thing that I was experiencing. At the time the pastor had explained about fasting; something new for me. He said that fasting was like a cry out, a stronger prayer, that we should do for specific cases, more difficult situations or just to consecrate ourselves more. So I decided to fast for fifteen days, from midnight to noon, in Joaquim's favor. I wanted him to go to church and to stay. This was the first fasting I did since I started going to the Universal Church. The great day that I invited him, to my surprise he accepted the invitation. We all went together to church: my mother, sister, Joaquim and I. I was so happy that God answered me! From that day on he never stopped going!

At first he did not understand much. I remember that every time I wrote him a letter (remember that in 1991 we did not have e-mail or WhatsApp. We communicated through letters, written by our own hand lol); and I always wrote a Bible verse and tried to explain it. My intention was to help him so that he could understand that everything that was done in the church was in accordance with the Word of God. I know that the Holy Spirit did the work in him. I never forced him to go to church or put him in this condition, even though at the time I was new in the faith too and didn’t know many things. I only had the sincere desire that he tried the same as I was living. I sought God and He honored my faith. But of course, Joaquim also had to accept, because God does not force anyone to seek Him; each person makes his own choice.

I would like to speak about this subject. Sometimes young people who wanted to date young unbelievers justified themselves through my example. They said, “If you can, I can do it, too.” However one thing is for you to arrive in church having a boyfriend already, like it was my case. When I arrived at the Universal Church in 1991, I was already dating Joaquim for one year. And another thing is for you to be in the presence of God, to have knowledge of the Word and to decide to have a boyfriend of the world; to become involved with a person who does not have your faith and put at risk your own salvation. I am not saying that it’s impossible for that person to convert, but until you see it you have to wait. It’s not okay to accept to date someone first, and then see if s/he wants to accept the Lord Jesus or not. It shows that you are putting your love life above your life with God.

That's the big difference! At that time I did not even have this knowledge that I should date a person of the same faith. I was new in church. We did not have blogs or books to teach us. We were learning everything slowly as the pastor was teaching us. Even though I did not have this knowledge, I wanted Joaquim to be with God. Even without the interest of dating someone of the same faith, I repeat, I did not know, I wanted us to be together with God and to know the Truth. Like me, he also lived spiritually blind, a slave of a religion.

So my beautiful girls, be careful not to confuse that! We do not have the ability to change anyone. It’s the Holy Spirit that does it!  Maybe at first, Joaquim accepted my invitation to please me, but he stayed, he converted and I can prove it. I will tell you more about this in the following posts. I've seen many church girls get involved with boys of the world and suffer. They acted out of passion. They did not know how to wait in God. They did not have the vision to see them converted first. So they still suffer to have married a person who does not accept their faith, mistreats them, deceives them, and so on! I ask myself, why create a problem if you can choose someone of the same faith, right? In the next post I will say a big mistake I did, but I was not aware of it. Maybe you have done it too!

Have you ever had a bad experience by getting involved with someone who does not practice your faith? Even within the church it can happen, because not all who are in the church are converted and given to God. See that God makes us aware of everything:

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” 1 John 4:1

This means that we must always see if the testimony given is true and whether the person acts by the flesh or by the Spirit. Unfortunately, not everyone who claims to be of God is really of God. But for this you have to be spiritual, because if you are of the flesh how can you detect who is spirit or flesh? Now you know it!!


Thursday, 31 August 2017

The story of my life 7: "The persecutions"




When our family members knew that we were going to the Universal Church a great persecution rose against us. I remember well that my uncles, my mother's brothers, went to our home and said a lot of things so that she would not go to church. Being part of a very religious family and full of traditions, it was a lack of respect for someone to reject the teachings received from parents and grandparents, and to start practicing something completely different. It was a real betrayal!

In fact, what they could not see was the spiritual ignorance in which they lived. But how could us make them understand it? Religion does this to people, they become slaves of manners, imprisoned to their ancestral’s teachings that have no biblical basis, but for them is everything. The teachings create roots in them, so they won’t let themselves evaluate the origin or the foundation of what they have learned. That's it and period! There is no room for questioning. As a teenager I was just listening; I did not interfere but my mother stood firm in her choice. She had the patience to answer them according to the Word of God, in what was being confronted, although without success. They did not even try to understand, they always repeated the same things!
They all stood against my mom! How could she deny everything her parents taught her? Deny the religion of the family and abandon all traditions? This was an absurd! So they thought.

That’s why whoever accepts the Lord Jesus in this life will certainly be persecuted and even slandered because the world does not accept the Truth. The world is concerned with appearances, not with knowing the truth of the Gospel. If only they read the Bible, I thought!!!
To further strengthen their position, my uncles made the news reach a third brother; an uncle of mine who lives in Brazil. My uncle called my mother to “open her eyes”. He said that the church in Brazil was not liked (at the time) and that she would have to leave the Universal Church urgently. They did everything to “keep” the customs of the family and according to them they did not have a heretic sister. I believe they thought that “together they can do more.”  Like if they get united against it, then you will give up that idea. Of course this never happened and they were the ones who gave up persecuting her. My father did not like the church much either, but he never prohibited us to attend it.

My friend if you are suffering a persecution because of your faith, whether it is at home, at school, or at work, stand firm with the Lord Jesus. Do not argue with people. Just give a good testimony and pray for them. Be strong and do not let persecution separate you from the presence of God.
Have any of you ever been or are being persecuted?

In the next post I will tell you what happened to Joaquim. We were still dating, but he still wasn’t going to church.


Monday, 28 August 2017

The story of my life 6: "The Book of discoveries"




After a while in the church, and listening the pastor teaching that we should have a Bible, we bought one. It was my first Bible and I was excited to know what was written in there. What I did not imagine was what I would discover in the pages of that Book that would change everything I had learned so far. I remember reading every night before I went to bed. I would not go to sleep without reading the Word of God. I started with the New Testament, reading the Gospels. The more I read, the more I could see the lie in which I lived; all of that was false.
With every verse my heart rejoiced. I saw that everything the pastor preached on the Altar was in agreement with that Word. Everything that was done in church had a biblical basis. So it was confirmed that it was the right place. Sometimes I would read and show my mother like, “Look, that’s exactly like in church.” I was happy. Sometimes I even cried when I was reading the Bible because that Word was very strong. I remember being disgusted because I never read it before, for accepting so many teachings and religious rituals with no biblical foundation and never questioned anything. I even felt angry at those who taught people pure lies! I remember very well a passage I read and it was a great discovery for me:
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13

I should pray and ask God in the name of Jesus! I had never prayed using the name of the Lord Jesus before, but from that day on, I learned, and I started to practice it. Another word that the pastor read in church and shaked the foundation of everything they had taught me since I was a child was:   
“But their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell. They have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk, nor can they utter a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” Psalm 115:4-8

I found out that I was an idolater! I believed in so many gods that were simply images made by men, rather than putting my belief and trust in the one true God. But on that same day when I went home I made a decision: from that day on I would only believe in the God of the Bible. I knew the Ten Commandments by heart since I was six years old, but not as it is written in Exodus 20.
The first commandment was summarized in “Loving God above all things” and the rest? And the important part of “Thou shalt have no other gods before me?” I've never heard of it.
Once the pastor taught about baptism in the waters. He said that “baptism is the remission of sins. It can only be done when someone can discern good and evil. The baptism of babies is not biblical. What sin does a baby have? The Lord Jesus was presented in the Temple when he was born and was baptized at the age of thirty.”

Another great thing I found out was that everything was wrong with me. I was just a religious person who had nothing of God; ignorant spiritually speaking. Through the Bible I was also learning about the Lord Jesus. How He behaved, what He did when He was here, His love and mercy with us, etc. I was in love with Jesus! Every verse I read about Him I admired Him more. How wonderful He was! Everything that was taught in church was shown in the Bible, so I never questioned the Word of God.
When it was explained of idolatry I accepted. When it was spoken of the baptism in the waters I understood it right away. When it was taught of tithe immediately I agreed. It was written, there was no room for doubt or questions. It was the Word of God and it should be respected and obeyed. It is a matter of intelligence. If I believe in the Word I obey it and not question it.
So I was slowly reading, learning and putting into practice. Some things took me some time to learn, but it was wonderful to have contact with the Word of God for the first time.
I loved to read the Bible, even though I could not understand everything. I tried hard to make the most of it and I was getting closer to God. Remember that at that time there wasn’t much information available like we’ve today. There were no church programs on TV, blogs, etc. we just had church meetings to go and learn the things of God.

And you, how was your first contact with the Word of God? Do you remember?






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