We are saved by grace and grace alone. | home
(For evermore under construction! So keep coming back here to see what the Lord has added to it now!)
My testimony goes back a while. The first real experience I had with God was probably after a period of being overworked round the age of 20. Without going into too many details, I can say that I was going through a phase of being numb on the inside. I would catch myself not thinking or feeling anything. There was not the natural, constant flow of thoughts, or any emotions going on on the inside of me. The condition was brought on by a serious nervous breakdown I had had after a keen interest in Jehovah's witnesses, which was opposed by my parents.
At the end of a period of one year--my folks were away from home on holiday--I found myself sitting on the floor of my room, staring out the window. I was pondering what my life had been like in the previous four years and realized I had sinned. I confessed to God what I had done wrong. And the tears came, my emotions were back, it was like coming back to life. It was like someone had turned the light back on. I know who that Someone was. It all happened in the snap of your fingers. From one moment to the next. I now know I had found something then, that I did not know how to hang on to, or how to deal with. Before six months were over I had lost my lovely, new-found relationship with a God I did not know yet.
My next great experience with God came four years later. I had planned to go to the States and get to know my Dad better. Due to a change of plans, I first ended up with my cousin who had known the Lord for a while by then. On my first day there she and her husband announced they were going to church the next Wednesday and that I was invited to come too. I told them that I had not lost anything in church and that I was not going to look for anything there. I related my experiences with God to them, and explained how I had been disappointed in religion. There was one remarkable thing that my cousin's husband said, though, that has stuck with me ever since. He said: Once God gives you something, it is yours to keep, He does not then take it away from you. Somehow they got my attention and come the next Wednesday I joined them in church. There was a very young preacher in that church, and this brought back old hopes of being a minister and preaching the gospel. Also, since I was hearing the Word spoken to me by my cousin and her husband, things started working again on the inside.
To cut a long story short, I turned to God and again He graciously answered me. This was my experience of being born again. I was so filled with His love, I could not believe it. I was so warm on the inside with His love, that I cannot describe it.
I have never been able to forget that love. I have always longed for it and longed for more of it. Ever since I have been in search of it, in order to possess it and possess it to the extent that I could pass it on. It has been the craving of my heart that everybody I met would come face to face with that love. And embrace it. It cannot be described. It lifts you up and fills you to the very brim of your being. It encourages and forgives, it satisfies and gives joy and courage to face life, no matter what.
Some of the following testimonies have not been described in the order in which they occurred. Some I could probably put a fairly accurate time on, others I am sure I could not. But they are all true and describe where I once was in the Lord.
It must have been between 1982 and 1988. It was in the summer and, since I am in education, it must have been during the time I had my 7 weeks off school. It was during the Sundays that I was in church, that the Lord so filled me with His glorious presence that I hardly felt my feet touched the ground. It was like being carried the way a child is carried on his dad's arm. His power was everywhere on the inside of me, soothing me, comforting me, filling me. In a word, it was glorious.
I had a similar experience during those same years, driving back from Frankfurt one day, where I had visited Elmer Klassen, the brother in charge of the Dutch and German Herald of His Coming (De Stem). It has to be experienced to be believed, but as I was driving along the highway, I could see the other cars passing by me and opposite me, I could see the landscape changing around me, I could see my own two hands on the wheel, but I was convinced that if I had let go of the wheel, I would have gotten home just the same. I felt like my head was standing still!! And all the rest was moving. Weird! It felt like my head was in heaven, but the rest of me was down here on the earth. I do not know how else to describe it.
We were praying in church once with a whole group of believers. It was towards the end of the prayer meeting, everybody could feel the pastor was soon going to close the meeting. And it was that point in time that God had picked to allow His Spirit to fall on the meeting so heavily that I could sense it. I now refer to the whole meeting, but I am not at all sure the others had the selfsame experience I had. For a few fleeting moments I sensed what it is like in eternity. Time was suspended and the annointing was heavy. I could not stand for it to end, but I knew the pastor was soon going to close the meeting. When he said 'Amen', I could have gotten up and put my hands round his neck, but that is very unchristianlike, isn't? So I controlled myself, but only outwardly. It must have been for this reason that the annointing soon vanished. I was not responding right to the situation. But the memory of this touch of God still warms my heart 15 years on.
The next experience will fill you with disbelief, but I am going to relate it anyway. It was in the year 1982, as far as I can remember. I was lying on my back on the couch of my apartment. Suddenly my gaze strayed to the wallpaper painted white, and against the white background I could discern a face. It was Jesus' face. The main colour of the vision was red, against the said white background. I could see a face framed with hair down to His shoulders. He did not say anything. But rather spoke with His eyes. The look on His face radiated love and a character, as tried in a furnace. A completely pure, absolutely spotless and blameless character, not found anywhere on the earth. And without Him speaking a single word, His eyes told me: Hope in Me. I have not always been true to that unspoken command, I am very imperfect, you see, but one thing was clear at the time: He did not look at what I was doing at that very moment, He looked at me. He is interested in me, as He is in you, by the way. He first looks at us and then at what we do.
I remember being in church one morning, feeling physically ill. It must have been between 1989 and 1993. Really I should not have gone that morning, judging from a human standpoint. But I went because I was in charge of Bible School in that particular church and I felt I could not stay away from church just because I was not feeling too well. But as the service progressed it got worse, the church was full of people who were all using oxygen, which I am sure you will agree is normal, but it was not doing me a lot of good.
At the same time there was a heavy battle raging in my life, and I was on the point of handing it all to the Lord, simply because I could not cope anymore. So I sat down, because standing on my two feet was becoming impossible (I was afraid I would faint if I didn't) and I was growing more and more nauseous due to a lack of oxygen.
Then, all of a sudden, I had had enough and literally, almost physically, I threw it all on to the Rock; I shouted on the inside of me: Lord, you can have it all, it is all yours, just take it, I do not want it anymore, take my life and my everything.
I cannot describe the power that rose up on the inside of me. It was literally the Holy Spirit using all the strength that is in Him to cast everything on the Lord. That is how I learnt how aggressive the Holy Spirit is when it comes to sin. He throws it away from us as far as God knows how, provided we are willing to let it go. It is an experience I still learn from when I really ponder what happened then. It teaches me He is willing to help, no matter how deep I am in the mire still surrounding me sometimes. It teaches me He is faithful, no matter how unfaithful I can be, for at the time this happened, I was further away from God's purposes with my life than I have ever been. It teaches me that He is so full of power, that I cannot begin to fathom it.
I received a very powerful annointing one time in the church I am still serving in right now. The services were being done in the afternoons, because they did not have a pastor yet and in the mornings I was still going to my former church. We had gone to both churches for about three weeks when their new pastor (bro. Mark P. Six) was welcomed and we made his acquaintance for the first time. After about three more afternoon services bro. Six was speaking on the simplest of subjects you can possibly imagine. In fact, he was doing little more than reading from the Gospel of John. In my 'other' church I had been going to the altar for reasons I shall not go into now. But I had received nothing noticeable thus far. But on this particular morning the Lord touched me so strongly that I could not contain the blessing. It actually hurt on the inside. I remember bro. Six prayed that that morning's blessing would flow out during the day to others around us. This is perhaps why it hurt: I did not allow it to flow out to others. But it was a powerful experience that I will never forget, especially the very physical aspect of pain stays with me enduringly is unforgettable. I had gone forward to the altar in the other church because I felt I could not receive a blessing like I had been used to.
And I received my blessing in our present church. It is what made me decide to leave the other church and join this one.
My most recent victory is reflected in the rest of this site. But it needs some additional clarification. I had wrestled with a sin that had been pestering me for over 35 years. And there was just no victory over it in my life. The sin itself is not worthy to be named since it was conquered on the Cross. All I can say is that I was utterly and completely incapable of overcoming it. But it turned out that there was a demon involved. And I had sent it packing several times before, I had asked a pastor to pray over this sin, but it just kept coming back.
Then, one day, when I was experiencing defeat again, I turned it loose with the words:"Now look, Lord, I have spent this much time trying to overcome this sin, I have expended so much energy and effort and time to overcome it, I am now going to let go of my own efforts and let it rest there. If all this time and effort has not taken care of it, nothing more I can do will." And without realizing it I was applying Isaiah 30 and verse 15: "For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, In returning to Me and resting in Me you shall be saved; in quietness and in (trusting) confidence shall be your strength. And you would not, ..." When I relaxed and trusted, put in no effort of my own, there was the strength to say no. Really that was all it took: NO! And it is still what it takes.
Then, even more recently, there has entered my life a victory that is beyond comprehension.