On the outside looking in I had it all, a beautiful house, money, women, and plenty of friends. On the inside, I felt empty with no true meaning or purpose in life. My life consisted of living for the moment and was centered on looking forward to the weekend so I could go out and party. This was a revolving cycle that lasted for years. That all changed the night of August 5th, 2003 when I went to bed not knowing my life would be altered forever. 

I woke up from a sound sleep and was drawn to the television. I saw a pastor talking about how Jesus could save my life from eternal destruction. Suddenly, I felt this supernatural feeling come over my entire body. I looked over at the clock and it changed from 11:59 PM to 12:00 AM. I then realized it was the second anniversary of my grandmothers passing and God was reaching out to me. I stayed up the next couple hours with a sense of excitement knowing deep in my heart Jesus was real. That night I knew I needed to buy a Bible and learn about God. It turned out to be the greatest decision of my life.

The next morning, I woke up early and purchased a New Living Translation Bible. It was in simple English and was easy to understand. That day, August 6th, 2003 I officially repented of my sin and asked Jesus into my heart. I was saved by God’s grace and started a personal relationship with the one true living God. It was the greatest single moment in my life.

Growing up I never went to church so I wasn’t sure what to do or what to expect, but I started to read the Bible and pray daily. As I continued to read I could feel Gods presence and I realized this was no normal book. It really was God’s Word and I was excited every time I opened it up.

A few weeks later I went to tattoo shop with a friend. As soon as I got there a lady walked in and without any hesitation walked right over to me. She said she knew there was a battle going on for my soul between God and the devil. Then she told me God loves me and will never leave me or forsake me. She handed me a pamphlet about Jesus and walked out the door. I was amazed at what transpired. I then realized God sent this lady into the shop to deliver me a personal message and my faith began to grow rapidly. I knew this was no coincidence. It was one of the first times I could feel God’s power and unconditional love in my life. 

A couple of years passed, I continued to read the Bible and pray but I was basically still living the same sinful lifestyle. I wasn’t truly putting God first and applying His Word to my life. The closest thing I got to going to church was watching Joel Osteen on TV. It was the early stages of my walk with Jesus but I looked forward to hearing Mr. Osteen’s message each week because he gave me hope and encouraged me to trust in God.

At the time, I was around 30 years old and I wanted to settle down since I had been living the single life for a while. One night I went out with some friends and I had a quick conversation with Jesus. I told Him I was tired of looking for that special someone to come into my life so I was going to leave it up to Him to bring her to me. I didn’t care if it was a couple of weeks, months, or years but I was giving Him full control. As the night progressed I had a sense of peace because I was trusting Jesus for the outcome.

At the end of the night as I was heading towards the exit I saw this stunning brunette smiling at me. Being the nice guy that I am, I walked over and started a conversation with her. We soon realized we had a lot in common and a week later we went on our first date. A month later we were falling in love and two years later she was pregnant with our son! The very night I decided to trust God, He pulled through and delivered. That’s when I understood how personal and real God is.

A few years went by, we bought our dream house, got engaged, had two successful careers, a beautiful healthy boy, but something was missing from our lives. My fiancée and I had lost that connection we once had. We got caught up in everyday life and didn’t make time for one another. We believed in God but we didn’t have Jesus at the center of our relationship. We gave Satan a foothold which he took full advantage of.

I didn’t think we were going to make it. I had fallen out of love with the mother of my son. Nothing we did to try to mend the relationship worked. It was the most stressful, darkest time in both of our lives. Our family was on the verge of becoming a broken home. The thought of me leaving my son tore my heart to pieces. It got so bad we knew our only option was to be separated. It was the hardest thing we ever endured because we didn’t know what the outcome would be.

I decided to move into my friend’s apartment. As I was getting ready to leave I told my fiancée that the only one that could save our family was Jesus. I gave her a Bible and encouraged her not to give up hope. It was the lowest moment in our lives but we had no choice but to trust in God.

I would stop by the house to see my son a few times during the week but it was heartbreaking every time I left. I was completely lost on the inside. I started to pray more and spent a lot of time meditating on God’s Word. My Bible was the only thing that comforted me and consoled me during this difficult time. 

After around three weeks of being separated the most amazing thing started to happen. My feelings for my fiancée started to come back! It was like the first time we met all over again. God answered our prayers and we were officially falling back in love! I moved back in and a few months later we got married! Now Jesus was at the center of our relationship and He was teaching us the true meaning of love. I knew if we kept God first we would never be apart again.

God took what the devil meant to destroy us and turned it into our greatest miracle because we allowed Him to operate in our lives. Instead of running away from God we ran towards Him and He delivered! I truly believe if we would have tried to figure it out on our own without God’s guidance our family would have been torn apart forever. 

Since I knew God brought us back together, the day I moved back in I decided to truly surrender my life to Jesus. I had to humble myself and make Jesus the number one priority in my life. I had to be all in. I decided to follow the number one commandment; to seek and love God with all my heart, mind, and soul (Mark 12:29). I immersed myself in the Bible and started to apply all the principles that Jesus was teaching me. I made the Bible the ultimate authority in my life. It was a game changer.

The Bible exposes us for the people we are, so at first it was a very difficult process for me. It was like starting life all over again. God was showing me different areas of my character that needed to be changed. My mind had to be transformed and I had to actively remove sin from my life (Rom 12:2). Jesus was letting me know the keys to experiencing the power of God were faith and obedience. I had to put my faith into action.

We started to go to church and I quickly understood that being an active member of church is a vital part of being a devoted follower of Jesus. I soon realized spiritual warfare was all mental. I had to change my thought process from the flesh world to the spiritual world to live in victory. I started to memorize one verse from the Bible a week and I could feel the power of Jesus begin to transform my life. It was the most amazing feeling in the world knowing the Creator of the universe loved and cared for me the way He did.

I began to feel God speak to me through the power of the Holy Spirit. He was revealing a detailed plan for me to build His Kingdom. That’s when Revelation 7 came into existence. At first it seemed hard to believe since I had no background in the field but then I remembered throughout the Bible God used ordinary people to do extraordinary things, so I trusted Him. What started out as a dream became a reality in seven years. Since then God has been asking me to walk with Him by faith not by sight. In return, God has blessed my family and I with true purpose and meaning in life which can only be found through a personal relationship with Jesus. 

The evidence for God is everywhere if you take the time to look. From the millions of lives that have been transformed by the power of the Bible, to the beauty and intelligent design of Creation, to the overwhelming proof of the Resurrection. Jesus is real and active today. He loves you more than you can imagine but He doesn’t force anyone to follow Him. He died on the cross willingly to pay for your sins. Don’t waste the greatest sacrifice of all time. Repent of your sins and make Him your Lord and Savior. Have real faith and apply the Scriptures to your life. Most importantly obey God so He can use you to save souls and make disciples. Eternity hangs in the balance. The choice is yours.

Michael Rivera

 

 

 

The eyes of the Lord search the earth to strengthen those who hearts are fully committed to Him.
2Chron 16:19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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