Paul Phillips, Personal Testimony
THE FIRST TIME I HEARD HIS NAME
These events must have taken place in circa 1957. I was playing on the playground in Silver Springs, Maryland. My father was stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in Washington. D. C.
The kids on the swings were singing "Jesus Love's Me This I Know," and, "Jesus Loves the Little Children." I went into the house and asked Mom who Jesus was. She said that He had hung on the cross and died for my sins. Then she yelled "Ivan, we have to start going to church." Ivan was my father's name. I may have asked what church was.
THE FIRST TIME HE CALLED
In about 1958 I was watching television and it showed a set of someone's teeth. The front teeth were all worn down and there was an oval gap. The commentator said that this condition was because this man was a carpenter and he had held his nails in his teeth.
I heard the voice of the Lord and He said He had called me to be a carpenter and he didn't want me doing that with my nails. I went in and told my parents that I wanted to be a carpenter. They were upset and told me I would never make any money and I would be going to college.
I did go to college. Today I am a carpenter over what I think may be my parent's objections. There never have been nails held in my teeth.
January 9, 1996
It seems to me I was about fifteen. I was getting into many fights in school. I was getting beat-up a lot. There was no sympathy from my parents. They assumed I was the problem. I was very upset. In desperation I remember opening my New Testament and reading:
"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock." [Matthew 7:24-25] Those words cut through me like a knife. The words were alive and vibrant. They were no longer words on a page. They were words spoken by a person. I was in a situation not unlike that house.
I opened the Bible again and read: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." [Romans 8:14] I really needed to feel like someone's son. It seemed that my parents did not care what was happening to me. I wanted to become a child of God.
This was this some twenty-eight-years ago. The next verse I happened upon: " Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." [1 Corinthians 13:7] These words also cut through me. I needed to believe that there was a way out.
Yes, I opened the book again and read"
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. " [Matthew 7:7-14]
I accepted who Jesus was, in my heart, at that point. After that things got better at school.
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. -- 1 Corinthians 13:7 (KJV)
Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Important to my readers on the internet: Immediately, that same day, I had a vision, before I knew what a vision was, of my walking through a devastated United States. The roads were there and the stores where open. There were no cars on the roads, or people in the stores. The cities were still there, but people mainly did not live in them. I was walking from outlying community to outlying community, carrying a Bible. I remember thinking, "why am I carrying a Bible?"
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