Thursday, November 11, 2010
Day 133: Since '68 Hot Wheels and Me
Looks like I shared my birth-year with an all time classic - the Hot Wheels cars. I think my arrival was a couple of months before the first release of these very successful cars.
There is no telling how many of these little cars I owned during my childhood. There is also no telling what those cars would bring today if I still had them. Back then, though, these were toys, they were made to be played with and were never thought of to be collected. This reminds me of some other toys I had back in the day that would buy me a new car if I still had them today. Some of them were the GI Joes, Lone Ranger and Tonto figures and horses, the Hot Wheels, many baseball cards that made it into my spokes to simulate motorcycle sounds, my beloved Stretch Armstrong and a Kiss comic book that supposedly had the four member's blood mixed in with the red ink.
I do still have the core group of action figures released for the original Star Wars movies. These are not in their packages and have been played with, which adds to their worth to me. This little piece of childhood memories is a fleeting memory to me. When I got these toys is also about the same time that I said "the prayer".
The time I first said "the prayer" is really fuzzy to me. I remember being on a junior kids church trip and we stopped at a small church for the night. We listened to a preacher and I can't tell you what he said, but I can tell you that I cried that night, buckets of tears. I remember that a man took me back to a classroom and asked me if I wanted to get saved. I couldn't talk because I was crying so much, so he said "I'll say the prayer and you just nod your head if you agree". So, that is exactly what I did, he told me I was saved, they announced it and declared me saved again that night, reaffirmed it in Sunday school the next Sunday and *BAM* i began my road down deception.
As a sheltered 8 year old I didn't know anything about sin. I knew the preacher said I needed to ask to be forgiven of my sins, but I don't remember ever sinning, but I know that I did. For the next 30 years I put my faith in the faith of an 8 year old and the assurance of a preacher that "I took care of it". So I was good to go, sinned like it was nobody's business and as long s I prayed to be forgiven I was golden. I can only remember a couple of nights I did not pray during my life and those were the ones that I passed out drunk. But that's o.k. too, because I just asked the next night for God to "forgive me of all the sins I did today, amen". I obviously wasn't sorry for them or convicted about them because I continued to commit the same sins over and over again, never felt bad about them and thought I had nothing to worry about.
My life drastically changed at the age of 38. I had been married a few years to my sweetheart from years before, which we had a child together the first go round, split up and later back together. She thought I was saved, I thought I was and I was being increasingly reassured because she kept telling me how good a Christian man I was. She was really wrong and I was really lost. I was deceived and believed that my fleeting prayer as an 8 year old had sealed the deal. But I was very wrong. God introduced me to some great teachings and the sermons I was hearing at the childhood church I had returned to weren't matching up with what I was reading in the bible and hearing on the messages I was downloading. This time in my life is when I really started to see just how sinful I really was and how Holy God is.
My need for God was very real and I realized that I was very lost. God in His grace decided to show me favor and expose my wicked heart to myself and show me how much I needed Him. That is when I was saved (converted) and turned from my sins, repented of those sins and turned to God for everything. I trust fully in the saving power of the blood of Christ and that it and only it washed away my sins. I have never stopped repenting of my sins and have never stopped relying on God to save me. His Word is real in me and He dwells in me.
Everything I learned as a child I question now. I sit under some very God centered messages now and they ring true in me. I know the people I went to church with at my former church are just as deceived as I was and only God can peel the scales from their eyes. I do stand accountable to share the true message of God to them and I pray God gives me strength to do that when I see them in the future. God has been very good to me, even when I was lost He was good to me. He directed my path as a lost person, because to Him I was already His child - before the foundations of the Earth He knew me. What an awesome God He is and how very good He has been to me.
I pray that if you are putting your faith in a fleeting moment as a child that you examine where your faith lies. If you have trusted in anything other than totally on the work of Christ and His love for you, then you are not saved. If you say "I got saved when I was 8, lived like a hellion until a year ago then rededicated my life, but know I was saved when I was 8" - you have done as I did and banked on a prayer instead of trusting in God and repenting of your sins. Examine yourself and see that you are in the faith. 2 Corinthians 13:5-6