~Job 23:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

I’ve seen study after study and devotion after devotion on this verse. But until you personally experience a series of trials in your own life, and experience this verse, you really can’t fully appreciate what others are trying to explain. So it was for me! Although I was greatly blessed by reading those studies, I have to admit that it wasn’t until I experienced some heavy-duty trials that I was able to have the compassion I needed to help others.

It is the first part of the verse that spoke to my heart, actually. The Lord knows the way that I take! This brings me much comfort knowing that my Shepherd knows my way. He has seen the future and knows the results of all that is going on in my life! My Creator, who has numbered the very hairs on my head (Luke 12:7), knows me intimately and cares for me. No matter how discouraged I may get, I can turn to the Word and the Lord gives me something that encourages my heart! (Psalm 61:2) From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Our Heavenly Father hears our pleas of despair and comes to our rescue! (Psalm 18:6) In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. Thank You, Lord! I glorify Your Name on high!

Job’s reputation has followed him through the ages because he was able to claim this verse in the bible. Even to this day, we hear the phrase “He has the patience of Job.” The trials that this man suffered are unbelievable, aren’t they? Job was attacked on every side by ole slew foot! The devil attacked Job’s character, he attacked Job’s belongings (cattle, etc.), he attacked Job’s servants, he attacked Job’s family, and he attacked Job’s own body! He even used Job’s friends to attack him emotionally! There is no one that I know of personally who has been through each of these in his life time – let alone within just a few weeks! I have learned that the Lord never gives us more than we can bear! With each burden, he provides us encouragement along the way. It is up to us to search out that encouragement! The word of God should be our main source of encouragement! That source is: (Psa 121:1) [A Song of degrees.] I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. (Psa 121:2) My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

I also noticed that Job did not get to the point where he cursed the day he was born until after his friends came to “comfort” him! The devil kept attacking him and saw that he could not succeed; so he sent along people he could “use” to accomplish his goal – discouragement. Where do you sit today, my friend? Are you one in need of encouragement or are you to be used of God to do the encouraging? Are you the type of friend that Job had? As I searched my heart, I realized that although I was experiencing trials of my own, there are many out there who are going through things that make mine look like child’s play! What kind of friend am I to those dear ones who are suffering?

If you are one who is experiencing trials today, do you surround yourself with whiners, complainers and nay sayers? It is these types of friends who will drag you down spiritually. Surround yourself with people who love the Lord, will pray for you and are there to lend an ear just in case you need one. Turn to your spiritual mentors who will not allow you to wallow in self-pity but will help you out of the pit of despair. You cannot expect someone who cannot swim to rescue you from drowning! Therefore, do not turn to those Christians who will nurture your discouragement instead of lifting you up in the Lord.

I don’t know why the Lord laid this on my heart today. Maybe I will need this down the road – or maybe you are going through a similar trial and need to be encouraged! With that said, won’t you say as Job did, (Job 23:10) But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

~Proverbs 10:23 It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.

The unsaved world does not think about living righteously. It is the furthest thing from their mind. In fact, and I speak from past experience, they cannot wait until the next moment they can do evil. Of course, at the time, I was not thinking that what I was doing was evil. All I cared about was that I had great pleasure in doing them!

The Word has so much to say on this subject. The wicked are explained with great accuracy in the Book of Proverbs. I did not think of myself as wicked prior to my salvation. In fact, I thought I was a pretty good person. But had I measured my life with the “yardstick of the Ten Commandments,” I would have seen that I did not measure up at all!

~Proverbs 4:16 For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.

I took great pleasure in my sin and loved it when I could partake with others! During the work week, we would be busy planning what we could do on the weekend. Our plans always led to sin!

~Proverbs 6:18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

I am so thankful that one day a dear friend came to visit and told me the wonderful news about salvation. It was not something I had ever heard before. My religious experiences revolved around “being good” and the burden was too great because I could never be good enough! Christ’s salvation is free but we must be willing to repent from the lifestyle we are currently living. To blab a prayer-ette and remain in the same lifestyle does not salvation bring! Jesus said to “repent and believe the Gospel,” (~Mark 1:15). There must be a repentance or there will never be any change!

~2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

From Darkness to Light
A. J. Krause

Few people have ever loved or respected the Catholic Church more than I. As we lived just a stone’s throw from St. Dominic’s Church and school, my sister and I were raised in the church. The Krause family, as far back as granddad could remember, we’re all good Catholics. We had a proud tradition to follow and the baton had been handed to me. In no way would I let our tradition down. What confidence I had in this awesome religion. Why, I thought, was everyone who claimed to be Christian not a Roman Catholic? This was my heart-felt belief. The following is my personal testimony of salvation.

Born Catholic, Die Catholic

My parents thought it very important that my sister and I receive a good Catholic education, instead of one from a public or private school. So I spent my grammar, middle and high school years being educated by Nuns and Priests. I was well indoctrinated into the rules and doctrines of Catholicism. I was baptized as an infant, confirmed as a young boy and received my first Holy Communion at my school and church. I started confessing my sins to Priests at an early age. I had received four of the seven sacred sacraments by the age of12, and felt my spiritual quest was headed in the right direction. After all, I was following the oldest and most organized religion in the world. My Catholic school regularly challenged us to consider the possibility of becoming a Priest or Nun. Thoughts of dedicating my life to God in this way danced in my soul. What greater career path could I travel? So I spoke as someone who was interested in the path of serving God. Because of my obvious devotion and love for the Catholic Church, the nuns and Priests gave me special attention, especially because of my vocal desire to become a Catholic Priest. I was taught that the Priesthood is the highest calling for a man. I set out in a devoted path, desiring to do all that I thought pleased the Lord. All devoted Catholics go to Mass as often as they can and further training taught me that going to Mass every day would grant me special grace and fewer days in Purgatory (a Catholic doctrine meaning a temporary place after death where the body burns until purged of all smaller sins). I had zeal of God, but the Scripture as the Apostle Paul remarked concerning the devout Jews applied to me, “for I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.(Romans 10:2-3) I was ignorant of God’s righteous. I believed that Catholicism was the way for righteousness, but the Scripture insists, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Romans 10: 4) Believing on Christ for righteousness is the key. Without confidence in God, in His fidelity, His truth, His wisdom and His promises you have no security, as the Scripture maintains, “without faith it is impossible to please him.” (Hebrews 11:6) My faith and confidence were however in my beloved religion, which “I thought” to be God’s righteousness.

My Loyalty to the Mass

An absolute requirement of all good Catholics is the participation in the sacrifice of the Mass. The heart of the Mass, and central to the faith of all Catholics, is the Eucharist. (A re-enactment of the last supper in the sacrifice of the Mass.) In my grammar school years, weekday Mass started at 7:00AM. My sister and I considered it a privilege to live so close to the church and to have the opportunity of making Mass with Holy Communion every day. We also ate a special breakfast at the school, because at that time it was a mortal sin(an offense that would send a person to hell) to receive Communion if you had eaten any food after midnight. Later this mortal sin rule was changed to no food three hours before receiving Communion. We liked the special attention we got from the schoolteachers and our classmates when we ate breakfast at our desk during class. I was committed to attending Mass every school day. I rose an hour earlier than my classmates. This was one of the only ways I thought I could please the Lord. If I had studied the Scriptures, the Word of God would have caused me to question my daily practice. Concerning Christ’s sacrifice and the continuing of it, the Scripture says, “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 10: 10-12)This section of Scripture can certainly be applied in reference to the daily Mass. The practice of the Mass according to the Bible should not take place; Christ’s death on the cross for our sins was a one time event, not to be ministered over and over. However, I, like most Catholics, was knowledgeable of my religion but ignorant of the Bible, and so followed our tradition. As a Catholic I firmly believed what the Church taught, that the Eucharist (the bread and wine) were the actual body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church teaches that the host is actually Christ’s body and wine is His real blood. They called this transubstantiation. The Scripture teaches, “I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people…Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, no soul of you shall eat blood…” (Leviticus 17:10,12) Regarding His Last Supper it is important to read Christ’s own words. His command in the institution of the His Supper did not to initiate a continual sacrifice but declared the institution of a remembrance of His finished work. His words declared, “This cup is the New Testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” (1 Corinthians11:25-26) The purpose is clearly given, to proclaim and publish His death. It is a remembrance of what Christ has done and suffered. In this remembrance, true believers are to declare His death to be their life and the cause of their comfort and hope. After I received my first Holy Communion I made a vow to God to never miss Mass on Sunday or any holy day of obligation. Catholic doctrine clearly states that missing Mass with out good reason is a damnable sin. I went a step further, no matter how sick I was, or where I traveled, nothing would prevent me from missing Mass. Some days I would run very high fevers on Sundays, crawling out of bed so I did not miss Mass. I believed this added to my good works, which were necessary for eternal life. I was the talk of the school, making such sacrifices as a young boy. “What a great Priest he could be for the Church”, people whispered. Local Jesuit Priests courted me in my high school years giving me special attention. They enticed me with their private wine cellars in the basement of their rectory, and allowed me to play with their champion bird dogs. They explained to me how Priests received salaries, retirement programs and ample vacations. They even took me bird hunting on weekends. This looked like a pretty good life to a high schooler considering a career. Jesus warned the top religious leaders of His day, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” (Matthew 23: 15) In my early years I entertained the real possibility of entering the Priesthood when I became old enough.

Our Home and Holy Water

With my parent’s blessings, as a child I gladly took the responsibility of keeping fresh holy water throughout our home. Attached to our bedroom light switches was a cradle that held holy water. It was common practice to dip our hand in this water as we turned on the light switch and by making the sign of the cross. This was a common practice in our home. As head altar boy at my parish I had a good opportunity to obtain holy water. Looking back, this seems like a strange practice but at the time we were taught to put great confidence in this, as protection for our home. In the pages of the Bible there is no such substance as holy water. The traditions of Catholicism bring into the worship of God “holy water”, oil and salt, charcoal and incense, and many other physical objects that dishonor the true worship of God.

Mary, St. Christopher and Medals

The Rosary was another very special part of my life. The Blessed Virgin Mary dominated my prayer life. My prayers to Mary were continuous, day by day, and year by year. The Rosary alone has 53 exaltations to Mary, and only 8 to God. A central truth in the Bible taught is, “there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (I Timothy 2:5) The way to God is only through Jesus Christ, not Mary. However our home had several statues of Mary that we used as “aids to worship”. I always wore my special St. Christopher medal. It had been purchased at our nation’s national Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. and my favorite Parish Priest blessed it. I strongly believed it had supernatural powers until the Pope admitted that there was no evidence that St. Christopher historically ever lived. I continued to wear it because it also had on the reverse side an image of Mary. She, I reasoned, would protect me. What a terrible sin I was ignorantly committing, because of my lack of knowledge of the 2ndCommandment. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God.” (Exodus 20: 4) I continued to break God’s Second Commandment every day. Ignorance is no excuse in man’s courtroom or in God’s judgment. I am attempting to tell you the truth of God’s law, not the “commandments of men”. This is one of God’s blessed Commandments. Do not take my word for it, read it for yourself, even in a Catholic Bible. Steadfastly a Catholic While many of my close Catholic friends were questioning their faith, concerning the history of the Church and its doctrine…I remained steadfast. Steadfast into my adult years, who was I to doubt or second-guess the teaching of the “Mother Church”? However the history, tradition and loyalty of the Saints, humbled me. Even though I studied world history, the Crusades, and the Inquisition (the torturing of Bible believers who spoke against the Church, many being tortured and burned at the stake), I still would not speak against my Church. In my world a Priest’s word was held in high esteem, especially his opinions and understanding of spiritual maters. I, as all good Catholics, was taught to trust the “Priest” to interpret scripture and the Church doctrines. But the Scripture teaches, “in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition.” (Mark 7: 7, 13) Mankind loves tradition and superstition. All ancient religions are steeped in delusions and rituals. Carefully I asked the Jesuit Priests about the millions tortured, killed or burned at the stake, by my Church. Their answers were unsettling, but I wrote it off, because my Church admitted she had made errors in the past. I trusted these men’s word. Who was I to ponder or doubt the Church? I believed my Church was started by Christ Himself, Peter being the first Pope.

Was Peter the First Pope?

One of the few verses we were taught to memorize in Catechism was in St Matthew chapter 16. “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.” (Matthew 16:16-20)We were taught to believe that Peter was authorized to start the Church by Christ Himself. We were educated that all other Christian churches, religions and denominations were offshoots of Roman Catholicism. This gave Catholics a great superiority over other faiths. No other Christian Church or world religion, in my understanding, could rank with my Church. What pride I had in my religion. Catholic teaching states that Peter was the first Pope. (The word Pope is non Biblical and is a man-made title). The Catholic Church teaches that Peter is the rock in Matthew 16. What does the Bible say about this? This rock is to be the foundation of our faith, so let Scripture define who it is, Peter or Christ. In the passage we are taught that the disciples had a distinct knowledge of Christ, expressed by Peter on their behalf. The Lord says that this knowledge, that He was “the Christ” and “the Son of the Living God” was a revelation from His Father in heaven. It is this revelation, the Lord declared, that he would become the rock, or foundation stone, upon which He would build His Church. This was the very concluding subject of the Lord’s summons to the disciples, “Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.” To hold the view that Peter himself is the rock is to deliberately pervert the plain sense of the Lord’s own words. Then the word “Peter” by definition means pebble, not rock. The Bible again and again calls God “the rock” of His people. For example, “then they remembered that God was their rock.”(Psalms 78:35) “O come, let us sing unto the LORD…the rock of our salvation.” (Psalms 95:1) “There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.” 1 Samuel 2:2“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer.” (2 Samuel 22: 47) The Apostle Paul proclaimed, “for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:4)Even the Apostle Peter himself warned of a false “rock of offense”, “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” (1 Peter 2:7-8)There is no doubt that the revelation of Jesus Christ, given by the Father, is “the rock” in Matthew 16, not Peter or any Pope. When faced with the truth, a choice has to be made. I ignorantly chose my religion over the Bible. I believed that Peter was the first Pope and all the infallible teachings of the Popes throughout history were equal to the Gospel. There have been over 1000 official edicts of Popes. If I were to list some of them you would be in shock with horror. I, ignorantly, had blind faith in this religious church system. My faith was not in Christ as the way, the truth and the life. My faith was in the Church as the way, the truth and the life. My parents bought my sister and me a Catholic Bible. This I carried throughout my high school and college years. As most Catholics, we had great respect and fear of this “mystery book”. In my years of Catholic schooling I cannot remember one time ever being required to read the Bible. Maybe this is because it raised more questions than answers relating to the Catholic Church. Instead we were taught to trust the Priest to interpret the Bible for us. This is very interesting; the middle verse in the whole Bible is Psalms 118:8 “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” One official Catechism declaration, that we were required to memorize, taught us the Catholic stance as it relates to the Bible and tradition. It states, “The scriptures and tradition are one in the same but when contradictions arise, tradition is to rule over the Bible.” The Scriptures teach against this position in many places. For example the final commandment of the Bible, in the final book, and the final chapter is, “and let him that heareth say, come and let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:17-19) God uses men to tell other men the good news and the bad news of His Holy Word. I have a responsibility to warn you of these things as I tell you my story.

My Fellowship with Non-Catholics

My college years took a distinctive career path. I got very involved in athletics, and had an active social life, therefore my desire to become a Priest dwindled, but my love and devotion of the Church stayed strong. My first association with Bible believing Christians, or non-Catholics, was when I joined the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Campus Crusade for Christ at the University of Alabama. It was strange for me to see people carrying Bibles and quoting scripture and having devotions around Bible passages. This was a peculiar lifestyle for someone whose only exposure was the Catholic faith. I could see a zeal for God at these get-togethers where genuine openhearted prayer abounded. It is usual for Catholics to recite from a book of prayers rather than pray from an open heart, directly to God. This new form of worship fascinated me. I started going regularly to the Christian fellowships but also continued to attend Mass. I can remember many Bible believing Christians asking me why I was Catholic and I jumped at the chance to defend my faith and exalt my Church. Although a few people did make me question my faith in my religion, a few words with a Priest always comforted and lead me back into their fold. The Church teaches that the Priest must interpret Scripture for us. They were the experts and I was taught to trust their interpretation. After all, were they not the vicars of Christ? Many years of schooling and special training convinced me to trust them. After talking to a Priest, his words would reinforce my faith and keep me loyal. Christian speakers on the campus pricked my heart with Bible based messages. My soul longed for what they had; surely I could search and find that kind of faith and peace in the Church. Scripture Verses like; “Christ hath forgiven us all trespasses. The blood of the LORD Jesus Christ has cleansed us from all sin.” and “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God,” impressed me. How could these verses be true? I believed it was necessary to confess sins to a Catholic Priest before someone could be absolved from sin. What about a forgotten sin? Bible based Christians claimed to have forgiveness of ALL sins. They professed to be born-again and to already have salvation. I reflected on the confidence and freedom they seemed to possess. I had to keep record of my sins for confession. After one campus meeting I was bold enough to ask if I could talk with the speaker. I felt compelled to meet him afterwards in his hotel room. He questioned me about my salvation and put me in conviction for a short while. He showed me in the Bible where it says, “for whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”(James 2:10) I asked, “You mean one small sin is like committing murder or adultery?” “Sin is sin” was his answer. The Bible does not teach such a thing as mortal or venial sin. This is a man-made concept, created by religion.

A Challenge from a Christian Girl

I started dating a Christian girl who had a zeal and love for the Lord Jesus Christ like none I had ever seen. She questioned my faith and my salvation. “When were you saved?” she asked. “Saved” was a strange word to me because it was not found in Catholic vocabulary. Even though it is used over 200 times in the Bible. This girl gave me my first Christian Bible. She highlighted key verses, and I challenged myself to read. There is Power in the Word, and I felt the conviction of the Holy Ghost as I read God’s Word. What a testimony she was when she stopped dating me because I was neither a true believer nor a spiritual leader. The Bible teaches, “be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (1 Corinthians 6:14)That passage later in my life gloriously guided me to my wife and later to my business partners. I now understand what it means to be equally yoked together with Christ at the helm. Most Catholics consider themselves spiritual people, as did I, but looking back I was on the outside looking in. I now understand I was imitating the Christian life. Catholics tend to believe their faith is a private thing, not to be examined, but the Bible says: “examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your ownselves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.” (2 Corinthians 13: 5) Now I realize that in my former faith I was a reprobate. When have you examined yourself in the light of God’s Word and not man’s religion? The Holy Ghost will lead you to only one truth. I often caught myself in a wrestling match with others trying to convince them I was a good Catholic and that all good Catholic were saved. Bible based Christians continued to doubt my salvation. This greatly troubled me, but I still kept faith in my Church and tradition. Jesus said, “full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition…Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition.(Mark 7:9,13) Verse 13 has been quoted twice in this testimony for a good reason, for there was where I lived.

A Christian Business Couple lead me to the Bible

My adult years provided me success in private business. I recruited and trained many talented people who marketed health products through the country. One of my most talented managers was a preacher who had a rare zeal and excitement about life and the Bible. As I spent time with him, he questioned me about my salvation. He always seemed to carry a Bible where ever he went. That was strange and uncomfortable for me. After a business meeting, I found myself at his home, with him and his wife. They had been praying for an opportunity to witness to me about my salvation. It was one of the few times someone had taken out a Bible and showed me truth. They took me to Scriptures such as: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” (Romans 10:1) It was their desire was for A. J. to be saved! I had a zeal but not according to Bible knowledge. I had looked for righteousness in a religion and not in the Person of Christ Jesus. “for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” I was under the law and this verse spoke to my heart. I was under rules and rituals, imposed by a religion, to gain my righteousness. I was keeping the law for my righteousness. My faith and confidence was in Christ and in my keeping the Church law and in living a good life, not solely in the finished work of the Savior at the cross. Nowhere in the Bible did it teach me to go to Mass or Church in order to have eternal life. It declared the opposite, “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us..”(Titus 2:5) Salvation and eternal life are God’s free gift. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2: 8-9): Boy, I could boast in my supposed good works. I had great pride in my faith. Having a strong faith in the wrong religion will send a man to hell. Consider the faith of Muslims. Only faith in Jesus Christ will save a man.

My Day of Salvation

That Christian couple witnessed to me out of the Scriptures but I quoted a memorized catechism statement. The words of the catechism however could not match the Word of God. Verse after verse revealed that my religion and faith was not based on the Bible. This totally stripped my faith in my Church. I had always believed my Church was Biblically based, now I saw that this was not so. The choice was clear, either my salvation was in my religion or my salvation rested on Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. It could not be both. I went home to a lonely house and that night lay in bed looking up at the ceiling. I truly examined myself, realized I had never had a time in my life where I put ALL my faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone. My confidence was always in my good works, the Sacraments of my Church. I especially had confidence in Holy Communion and in keeping the Commandments. I had hoped to persevere enough grace at my death to obtain heaven. But there before my eyes were the words of the Lord, “verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3: 3, 5)At that time four verses stood out in my memory, after I had been shown them in the Scriptures, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) All of my sins! “Christ died for our sins.” The heart of the Gospel is contained in those five words. Christ died for my sins! I was always worried about having them confessed. Another verse that stood out in my memory from the Scriptures was one of the most quoted verses in the Bible. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” “Whosoever shall call” did that mean even me? In the privacy of my bed, between God and myself, I called upon the Lord Jesus Christ believing that he would save me. Why, because I had His Word on it, not religion’s word or man’s word but God’s Holy Word. January 22nd 1981 was the day I received the salvation God had provided me. God saved me! “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians. 6:1-2) Nothing did I do but put my faith in what He had done for me. I trusted Christ’s sacrifice as payment for my sins. The Bible teaches there is a day of birth and a day you of death and a day of salvation. Remember the eternal commandment “ye must be born again”. When was your day of salvation? Please call me or write. My email address and telephone number are given at the end. Feel comfortable contacting me about your faith.

Seek the Lord and His Peace

The Bible says, “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7) I now have that peace. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is anew creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5: 17) All things are new now! This is my heart’s desire for you! Why would I take the time to put this in writing? Many of you have a love for God and zeal for God like I did, but maybe not according to Bible knowledge. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…and the Word became flesh.” (John 1:1, 14) Put your faith in the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, and not in the word of any man. God chose the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ alone and you shall be saved. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-5) Ask God for the truth! His Word is His promise! That is why His Word, Christ Jesus, became flesh! When a man desires truth, seeks God for answers and is willing to forsake all, God will lead him into His truth. The Lord said in the Scriptures, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5) This was my plea, I asked God and He answered my search. A man can know that he has eternal life while living on this side of eternity. The Lord’s word in Scripture says so, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”(I John 5:13) I had never known with confidence I could have eternal life. Now I know. A personal testimony will be required of all men at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Christ Jesus Himself is my surety! My eternal destiny hangs on my faith in Christ’s perfect sacrifice…only that has made me right with God. Your eternal destiny likewise must rest secure, for “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this thejudgment. Please feel free to call me with any questions, toll free:1-888-643-7374 or email me at::

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Free Indeed

Former Priest Alexander (Sandy) Carson

From childhood to age forty-four, then in my seventeen years as a Roman priest (1955-1972), the Roman Catholic Church had been the pillar of truth to me and my infallible guide to God. This “pillar of truth,” the Roman Church, was not constructed solely of the infallible Scriptures, but also constructed of man’s “traditions” apart from Scripture, which were held to be revelations from God, but which in fact contradicted and were in opposition to the plain teachings of Scripture.

During the first century days of the Apostles, truth was being preached in the streets and Temple areas of Jerusalem. That would eventually make up the content of the New Testament. The book of Acts, chapter 6 verse 7, bears testimony to that preaching: “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” At great personal cost, those Jewish Old Testament priests left all to follow Jesus. When their hearts were pierced by the truth, that “two edged sword” the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12), they left all to follow Jesus. All former Catholic priests who have become “obedient to the faith” can certainly relate to this passage (Acts 6:7), from Wycliffe, Huss, and Luther down to the present day. At different times and in various ways God has used His written Word to set men, even Catholic priests, free! “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). In 1972, while I was pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Rayville, Louisiana, USA, the Lord’s truth and grace became clear as day to me. Here is my full story.

Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation

In 1928 I was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church as an infant. When I was just over a year old my family moved from New York State to New Milford, Connecticut, where I was raised in the Catholic faith. I thoroughly believed in all Catholic practises and beliefs, and I took my relationship to the Church, and therefore to God, very seriously. My first communion and confirmation were important events to me. After high school, I went to Tufts College in Boston to study pre-med, hoping one day to become a medical doctor like my revered uncle. However, at the end of two years of study, I really desired to become a priest. I felt it was more important to help people spiritually than to aid them medically.

The Seminary

In September of 1948, I began studies for the priesthood at St. John’s Seminary, Brighton, and Massachusetts. How I loved the seminary! Everything was so “holy” there. Nevertheless, at the end of my first year in the seminary, I withdrew. I felt I could never measure up to being a priest, being convinced at the time that it was the highest possible call on a young man’s life. I attended Boston College (Jesuit) and served Mass almost every morning at a local Catholic monastery. At this time, during the Fall of 1949, God saved me by His grace (the only way!) even though I did not know a lot about the Bible. Jesus saves the believing repentant even though they walk in a measure of confusion and darkness. I had come to a place where I was uncertain about my relationship with God, and I wanted to be sure about that above everything else.

A Confession Absolutely Different

One night I knelt in a confessional booth and confessed every sin of my life that I could bring to mind.At confession I always really confessed my sins to God first, though it was in the presence of the priest who would give “absolution.” “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness…” (I John 1:9). After I expressed my repentance and while the priest was giving the ritual “absolution,” I cried out to God with my heart, saying, “God, if you’ll forgive all my sins, I take you as Lord of my heart and I’ll serve you the rest of my life!” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Leaving that confessional box and walking across the transept of the church, I felt a great peace and “Abba, Father!” rang in my heart. I knew that I had a relationship with God! This did not happen because of the presence of a priest and liturgical absolution. It happened because of the presence of Jesus Christ, our great High Priest Who made intercession for me and Who made me the object of His grace, mercy, and compassion. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 1:7, 2:8-9).The next year I re-entered the seminary to complete studies for the priesthood, the best way I knew to serve God at the time. I was ordained by Bishop Lawrence Shehan of Bridgeport, Connecticut on February 2,1955, and began ministry as a Diocesan, or secular, priest in the Diocese of Alexandria, Louisiana. The great excitement and joy I felt about my unique position of service began to wane after a few years, and try as I might to do everything right; it became empty, meaningless ritual.

The Bible — A New Standard

In 1971, after several years of crying out to God for something more meaningful, my great hunger was abated. Jesus and the Word of God (Scriptures) became very real to me. Because “…the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts…” (Romans 5:5), the Holy Spirit led me to judge Roman Catholic theology by the standard of the Bible. Before, I had always judged the Bible by Catholic doctrine and theology. It was a reversal of authority in my life.On a Sunday night in July 1972, I began to read the Book of Hebrews in the New Testament. This letter exalts Jesus, His priesthood, and His sacrifice over all the Old Covenant or Testament. This is some of what I read: “Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself…” (Hebrews 7:27). This startled me, and I began to feel very uneasy. I understood for the first time that Jesus’ sacrifice was a one-time sacrificial offering at Calvary, in itself effectual to reconcile me to God and believing repentants of all ages. I saw at this time that the “Holy Sacrifice of the Mass” offered by me and thousands of other Catholic priests daily throughout the world was a fallacy and completely irrelevant. If the “sacrifice” I daily offered as a priest was meaningless, then my “Priesthood” which existed for the purpose of offering that “sacrifice” was likewise without meaning. These realizations were soon clearly confirmed as I continued to read in Hebrews Chapter10: “But this man, (Jesus) after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (v. 12-14). “Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin” (v. 18).

Saved by God’s Grace Alone

That night the Roman Catholic Church lost credibility for me, as it had taught as truth what was clearly contrary to the Scriptures. I then chose the Scriptures as my standard of truth, no longer accepting the magisterium, or teaching authority of the Catholic Church as my standard. In my letter of resignation from the Catholic Church and ministry, I stated to the bishop that I was leaving the priesthood because I could no longer offer the Mass, as it was contrary to the Word of God and to my conscience. This was in 1972. It was not long before I was baptized by immersion, began Biblical studies and was ordained to the Gospel ministry.For over twenty years I have walked in the freedom of which Jesus spoke, saying, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32), and “If the Son therefore shall make you free,ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).Alexander (Sandy) Carson Through 1994 his ministry was mostly in seminary, evangelism and preaching in Florida, U.S.A. Then in1995 he did extensive preaching across parts of Eastern Europe. In March 1996 he went on a 6-week ministry in Siberia. From a radio interview with Bob Bush, a Russian believer in California contacted him.As a result, he has returned to Russia and Eastern Europe to proclaim the Gospel.

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I was raised in the Roman Catholic church in an all catholic town in Northern Maine. My father was an alcoholic and my mother a devout catholic. I was also a devout catholic and even taught catechism in the local Catholic CCD program. I was married in the Catholic church to my high school sweetheart in 1974 and we moved to the Northern Virginia area a year later.

After six years, my marriage was failing and I was no longer in love with my husband. My eyes strayed and I was tempted to be unfaithful but just could not. I knew divorce was not an option because I saw how my sister had been forbidden the sacraments because of her marriage to a divorced man and how the Catholic church had abandoned her in her hour of need. I felt helpless and life seemed too much to bear! It was then I began thinking about suicide as my only option.

My dear friend from my home town called to ask me if she could come to Virginia during her vacation. She shared with me that she had been “born again.” I warned her not to “preach to me” during her stay.

On April Fool’s Day, I went into work leaving my friend at home. As soon as I arrived, I felt moved to ask for the day off so I could spend it with my friend. My boss allowed it and off I went back home. My friend and I went to the mall to do some shopping. The mall wasn’t open yet so we sat around waiting and talking about the end times. She seemed so knowledgeable and it impressed me. I asked her what the Bible had to say about the predictions that Nostradamus had made. The conversation just consumed us so much that when the mall finally opened, we didn’t care. We continued to talk.

Little did I know, the Holy Spirit had spoken to my friend’s heart when she was packing her suitcase to come to visit. He compelled her to bring along with her a tape by Hal Lindsey discussing the end times. He is the author of “The Late Great Planet Earth.” Ironically, my husband had been reading that very same book which was lent to him by a man he worked with. She told me about this tape that she “happened” to have with her back at my house so off we went. I wanted to listen to it right then and there.

I listened to Hal Lindsey discussing what Christ had to say about the end times in the Scriptures. The Bible verses he gave were amazing to me. I could not believe that God’s Word would contain such detail and I became more and more afraid of what was to come. Mr. Lindsey also spoke about the plan of salvation! He spoke of how I could not work my way to heaven as written in Ephesians 2:8-9. He said that no one on earth could claim he was not sinner as written in Romans 3:23. He said that because of my sin, I would have to pay the penalty, which is going to hell!

WHAT? Go to hell? Me? I had always been taught that if I did not die in mortal sin, I would go to purgatory until enough prayers and indulgences had been made on my behalf, then I would be released to heaven. Hal Lindsey’s response to this was if I could get to heaven because of my good works on earth or because someone prayed me out of purgatory, then WHY in the world would God send Jesus to die for our sins? This meant that Jesus’ death on the cross was not enough??!! What a cruel and horrible thing for God the Father to do to His only Son!

I must admit that all of this sounded so foreign to me. I had never heard such a thing in my entire life! Although I taught Catholic catechism, surely I would have heard something such as this from my priest or in my catechism book. Not once had I ever imagined that the things I was taught were according to the church’s traditions and doctrines rather than what the Bible, the Word of God, taught.

I remember thinking to myself that I could honestly stand before God and tell Him that He had to let me into heaven because I had never heard about this plan of salvation. It was not in any of my catechism books. This was never something that had been taught to me … not in church nor by my parents. Certainly God would understand this and let me into heaven! At the very moment that this thought entered my mind, Hal Lindsey said

And you can’t say that you never heard the plan of salvation because I just told you so!!

My friend, I can’t begin to tell you what this did to me. I now saw that I was accountable for my sins before God and I was on my way to hell. It was at that time I knew that I could not escape so great salvation.

I was born again by the Grace of God at noon on April 1st, 1980. Praise God for His unending mercy! Not only was I saved from eternal damnation but the Lord healed my broken marriage within just a few months!

I thank God that He used my dearest childhood friend as an instrument for my salvation. Now we are not only friends but sisters in Christ. This has been a source of great comfort and blessing to me throughout the years.

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William Paton MacKay

Born: May 13, 1839, Montrose, Scotland.
Died: August 22, 1885, Portree, Scotland.

This is the testimony of Scottish doctor, W. P. MacKay, author of “Revive Us Again.” In his own words,

My dear mother had been a godly, holy woman, quite often telling me of the Savior, and many times I saw her on bended knee in prayer for my soul’s salvation. But nothing had made a deep impression on me. The older I grew, the more wicked I became…

One day a seriously injured man was brought into the hospital. His case seemed hopeless, he seemed to realize his condition for he was fully conscious and asked me how much time he had left to live. I gave him my opinion in as cautious a manner as I could.

“Have you any relatives whom we could notify?” I asked.

The patient shook his head. He had only one wish, it was to see his landlady because he owed her a small sum of money and also wished to bid her farewell. He also requested that his landlady send him “The Book…”

I went to see him on my regular visits at least once a day. What struck me most was the quiet, almost happy expression constantly on his face…After the man died, some things about his affairs were to be done in my presence.

“What shall we do with this?” the nurse asked holding a book in her hand.

“What kind of book is it?” I asked.

“The Bible of the poor man…As long as he was able to read it, he did so, and when he was unable to do so anymore, he kept it under his bed cover.”

I took the Bible and-could I trust my eyes? It was my own Bible! The Bible which my mother had given me when I left my parent’s home, and which later, when short of money, I sold for a small amount. My name was still in it, written in my mother’s hand…

With a deep sense of shame I looked upon the precious Book. It had given comfort and refreshing to the unfortunate man in his last hours. It had been a guide to him into eternal life, so that he had been enabled to die in peace and happiness. And this book, the last gift to me from my mother, I had actually sold for a ridiculous price…

Be it sufficient to say that the regained possession of my Bible was the cause of my conversion.

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