As I travel across the State of Alaska, people often ask me, “Joe, are you a Christian?” Most people know my conservative principles, but they don’t know my heart. So, I want to take the occasion to share a little bit of my story with you that I have shared in small group settings . . .
My car slammed into a tree, crossed a four lane road, and ended up in the middle of the railroad tracks. By all accounts, I should have been dead.
With a massive headache, over 30 years ago as a teenager, I woke up on a hard cot in a cold jail cell, desperately hoping I was dreaming. I thought I could occasionally dance with the devil and not pay for it, but my luck had run out.
I grew up with five sisters and one brother. Although we were poor, I was raised in a loving Christian home. Our father was the pastor of an independent church; and we had a stay-at-home mom, focused on raising her family.
In grade school, I had a very visible deformity on my lip from an accident when I was six and was often teased by other children. The continuous ridicule, rejection, and bullying made me feel insecure. Because my parents couldn’t afford health insurance or surgery to take care of my lip, I mowed lawns and did other work to pay for the surgery myself. However, I still felt like I had to compete in order to have self value; and I ended up making some poor choices.
My parents had no idea that I started partying in high school. And then came disaster. The morning that I woke up on the hard cot in the cold jail cell with a massive headache, lonely and afraid, I could only do one thing: cry out to God. I was flat on my face, broken. I prayed, “Lord, I desperately need you. I cannot live without your presence.” I confessed my sins and gave myself wholly to Jesus Christ. And He revolutionized my life.
From that day on, I have never been the same. The Lord turned the bad into good (Romans 8:28), and I graduated from my high school class of more than 200 as valedictorian. He has blessed me with many other accomplishments. You can read more of what God has done in my life by clicking HERE.
Most importantly, he blessed me with an incredible wife and eight wonderful children and, as of last December, a beautiful grandson!
Am I perfect? Of course not! Have I made mistakes? Absolutely. The most important lesson I learned was after making a mistake, which we all do, is to confess and move on.
As the Apostle Paul said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (1 Tim. 1:15; 1 John 4:8). In other words, Paul was saying “I am not better than you.”
Not only has Christ’s sacrifice on the cross proved sufficient for me; he also helps me every day to deal with unjust attacks and is even helping me to love the people who speak and write them.
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom