Only recently was I asked by a brother in the LORD for my testimony, a brother who had attended the new converts class the same time as myself... I was somewhat taken unaware and hesitantly said I would take it to the LORD in prayer. He told me that someone, somewhere was just waiting to read what the LORD has done for me... so here goes. I pray all I write is pleasing to my LORD and my SAVIOUR.
My name is Joseph Phillips (Joe) born March 1954 into a catholic family. I have three older brothers and two younger sisters (all presently unsaved) whom I love dearly. My mum was a protestant but changed to a catholic so that she could marry my dad. I grew up on a small farm where money was very scarce. Life was tough. I was brought up according to the laws and teachings of the Roman catholic church. I married in May 1975 and was blessed with two girls Susan and Brenda, and two boys Stephen and Nicholas. I brought my family up as Roman Catholic's. Many people said that I was a good father but looking back I'm sorry to say that was not the case. I spent much of my time seeking pleasures of the world, things like drinking, gambling, fishing, shooting, pool, snooker and such like. All of which gave me pleasure, but for a short time. At the age of 40 I took up golf to try and keep me out of the pubs, a game that I became addicted to and my wife became a golf widow. Through all this I kept going to mass because I was brought up to believe that it was a mortal sin to miss. Now when I look back I can see I was nothing but a hypocrite... yes I was just acting the part.
My life changed big time in January 2004 when my marriage broke up due to me lusting after the things of the flesh. I then stopped going to mass knowing what I had done and what I was doing was wrong, yet I continued in my sinful ways. I moved in with Ruth, a very pretty young lady, 13 years younger than myself. It's not hard to know why I fell for her but many times I have wondered what she saw in me. Ruth had backslidden (at that time I didn't know what a backslider was) due to her marriage breaking up several years before I met her. She was a single parent with an 8 year old daughter named Jenna.
Easter Sunday morning 2004 unknown to me God began a work in my life. Ruth, Jenna and I went to Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle. It was my first time. From the moment I walked through the door I experienced the warmth and friendliness of the people greeting us. I had the pleasure of a hand shake from Pastor McConnell even though I didn't know who it was at that time. When I was told I thought it very strange that he was just dressed similar to all the other men. I was very impressed by the choir but when it came to the reading of the word and the preaching... well that was something special. I can't remember what the reading was that morning but everything about Whitewell just gripped me. We became regulars, the more I heard about Jesus the more I wanted to hear. For the first time in my life, at 50 years of age I began to hear and understand the gospel preached in all it's fullness and glory. As the weeks went past, during the appeal for lost souls I began to struggle. Weeks turned into months and the struggle became more like a battle. Part of me wanted to lift my hand but that little voice kept telling me I wasn't good enough to accept the Lord as my personal savior. Looking back I now know that I was under conviction from the Holy Spirit, but at the time I had no idea. One part of me wanted to be loyal to the catholic faith, one part was fear as to what my family and friends would say and yet I knew I must take that step of faith and be identified as a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.
On the 8th August 2004 during the appeal Ruth raised her hand to come back to the Lord and just then I knew it was a defining moment in my life. I lifted my hand and asked GOD to forgive me of all my sins and to come into my heart and my life. What a moment...Yes there were mixed emotions, from tears of happiness to an inner peace that I struggle even yet to put into words. Many times I had heard of the peace of GOD, a peace that passes all understanding, yet there and then GOD was allowing me to share with HIM his love and tender mercies.
There many things I don't understand but I know my life changed big time from that moment on.
Ruth and I were still living together, even though we tried to change our sinful ways we both knew we were not setting a good example to the unsaved. Sometimes things I say return to me as a way of correction. One such speak was on a visit to my mum who had just returned from a visit to the doctors. She told me because of the tests she had, the doctor was going to increase her medication. She told him in no uncertain terms that he was going to do no such a thing. I said what's the point of going to the doctors if you are not going to listen and take his advice. Very soon after that in church the message was about getting your house in order. I left that service with a voice in my head what's the point of going to the church if you are not going to listen and take advice from
GOD'S word. After a talk with Ruth I went back to my mum and asked if I could move in with her until such times as we could get our lives sorted out. I stayed with mum until June 2007 when Ruth and I became husband and wife. That day I received a text message from a brother in the LORD which I believe with all my heart. It was from the book of proverbs, C:3 v 5-6. 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. I stand on the promises of GOD knowing a promise is much better than an explanation! GOD has promised if we put HIM first...HE will pour out a blessing so large that there will not be enough room for us to contain it. I know the LORD has rewarded us many times over for our faithfulness. By GOD'S grace Ruth been healed from asthma and in August 2009 she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (a form of M.E.) She was prayed for in church and anointed with oil on 9th September 2009 and yet again by GOD'S grace Ruth was healed.
I thank the Lord Jesus Christ daily for the miracle or saving my soul. 2nd Corinthians C5:17 We are told IF ANY MAN BE IN CHRIST, HE IS A NEW CREATURE: OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY: BEHOLD: ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW. Yes there are times when I fail miserably but I now know there is one GOD, and one mediator between GOD and men, the man CHRIST JESUS. Now I cling to the promise HE has given to me and to all his children... a promise that HE will never leave me nor forsake me. In Hebrews C4:16 we are told that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. I would like to finish with a verse from 1st Corinthians C2:9 BUT AS IT IS WRITTEN, EYE HATH NOT SEEN, NOR EAR HEARD, NEITHER HAVE ENTERED INTO THE HEART OF MAN, THE THINGS WHICH GOD HATH PREPARED FOR THEM THAT LOVE HIM.
I pray that all who take time to read this will be truly blessed and if you don't already know the LORD JESUS CHRIST as your own personal savior BEHOLD: NOW IS THE ACCEPTED TIME. If you would like to begin a personal relationship with JESUS right now pray this short prayer.
LORD JESUS CHRIST I am sorry for all the wrong doings in my life. I ask you to forgive me. I thank you for dying on the cross for me. I thank you for the price you paid, for the blood that you shed to set me free from all my sins. LORD JESUS come into my life today, come in and stay with me forever, in JESUS name I pray...AMEN