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My Spiritual Journey – Part 2 (by Norm Hammond)

(from wikipedia)

Today, Norm Hammond concludes his two-part post, My Spiritual Journey.  If you have not already done so, start by reading part 1.

 
Immanuel Baptist Church

Immanuel became more than a fiber in the rope. I heard a salvation message every Sunday. I still didn’t believe the gospel message he preached. I had learned from others that if I was good and performed good deeds, it would make me acceptable to God. I could do it myself. When I compared myself with others I perceived that I would be acceptable.

The people at Immanuel seemed happy in spite of their circumstances. They all carried Bibles to church and used them for personal study. This was different from most churches I had attended. Up to the time we were attending Immanuel I didn’t know that the Bible was the Word of God. I had to admit that it’s contents had changed lives from hearing their testimonies. Tom Younger, who was the preacher, emphasized it was not what he said, it was what the Bible said. For instance he pointed out II Corinthians 10:12:

“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”

The people of Immanuel invited us into their homes after church services. Another fiber. I began to go to Sunday School as well as church. Oz Morley was the Sunday School teacher. He taught the Bible. I perceived that Oz and his wife Jinny were very moral and religious.

The friendly people at Immanuel were in stark contrast to my boss, Ron Smenner and President of Hoosier Solvents and Chemicals corp., Robert C. Nicholls. They were both living immoral life styles and bragged about being “two fisted drinkers”.
 
What Made the church people different?
Another fiber of the rope. After attending church and Sunday School for about a year, hearing the Word of God preached and taught, I began to see a huge difference between the church people and most of my business contacts. What made the church people different? It had to be the church and the Bible they read and studied.
 
I began to realize what I needed to do to become a Christian. I needed to understand that I was a sinner. That I was born that way and I needed by faith to accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior. By this Faith I could claim Christ’s righteousness and I would be acceptable to God.
 
Pride Kicks In

It was much easier to believe all this than it was to publicly acknowledge my sin and be baptized in obedience. Now my ego and considerable pride kicked in. I wasn’t a small child fresh out of Vacation Bible School or even a junior age child who had attended a Christian camp. I was 42 years old and had had some success in the business world.
 
One night I decided to read the Bible for myself. I read the entire book of John. I began to see God as a loving living person instead of a punishing tyrant for wrong deeds.
 
I heard in a sermon that it is God who calls people to him. I didn’t know that! I took my Bible and searched for every place where the word “call” was used. It was true. In fact the word “call” was used so many times I got tired looking them up. If it is God who calls, then I don’t do anything but answer.
 
I was still smoking cigarettes at this time. I wanted to quit, then I would answer the call to be saved. I really didn’t understand my adversary. Neither did I understand how difficult it would be to quit. A Christian friend shared with me how God had taken care of his desire to smoke after he was saved. I couldn’t believe that. But that is another story.
 
Saved at a Revival Meeting
Immanuel had scheduled a revival meeting for a week in late October. Lehman Strauss, a distinguished preacher, teacher and author, was the speaker. Our family attended most of the special meetings that week and on Thursday night the message compared salvation to a sailboat. God was the anchor. Even though life could be rough and uncertain in the sailboat on the surface, with God as the anchor of your life he would produce peace instead of fear. Lehman Strauss did a lot better job in his preaching that my recollection of what he said.
 
After the meeting as we left the church I asked Tom Younger at the door if he would stay at the church, I would take the family home and return. When I returned Lehman Strauss and Tom Younger presented the gospel message of salvation. At the end of the presentation I was asked to accept Christ as my personal savior and became a born again Christian. I was 42 years old in October of 1966.
 
The title of my story is “My Spiritual Journey”. Journey’s have a beginning and an end. I had a new beginning when I was born again. My new life in Christ had just begun. So you see it wasn’t a journey at all. It is a new beginning with no end. Eternal life! The rope is finished.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: All things are passed away, behold all thing are become new.” – II Corinthians 5:17

My life verse is Hebrews 11:6. “But without faith it is impossible to please him, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Is he a rewarder? You bet he is. Ephesians 3:20, “Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.”

Other Posts by Norm Hammond: