Born in Ireland in the late 40s, I was brought up in the religious tradition of the majority, which was Catholicism. But I gave up on religion when I was about 17 years old. I was not so sure about the existence of God, but religion I was sure, was a useless exercise. My motto was, live and let live, so I was fine with others being religious.
It was 1972 when I married the love of my life. We had our first boy in 1973 and our second in 1975. We had another boy in 1981 and finally our girl in 1982. In the beginning my wife used to take our two children to mass on Sundays, but having no interest I used to relax on Sunday mornings. As time passed Maureen and the boys joined me at home on Sunday mornings.
It was 1976 when I was invited to something called a charismatic meeting? I had no idea what that was all about, but after months of chat I was persuaded by a neighbour, who seemed to have had some life changing experience, and told me that God was the reason for this change. She was convinced that Jesus Christ had actually lived on the earth, that He gave His life for her sins personally, that the resurrection was real, not just a story as I suspected, and she was absolutely certain that she was going to heaven. She claimed to have a personal relationship with Jesus. How strange? I had known this woman for years and she was an intelligent and articulate person and so I was curious to know where this belief, faith, confidence was coming from. Curiosity can be dangerous, life changing!!
After months of persuasion, i finally arrived at a meeting, was welcomed by happy smiling people. There were a few hundred people there and I somehow ended up towards the front. It was very strange as the music and singing began, every now and then someone would read from the bible, some people spoke in a strange language, which I was told later, was a gift from the Holy Spirit? Who is He I wondered? At times everyone sang in this strange language. People were raising their hands in the air and talking to Jesus. There seemed to be great Joy in all of this. It was the weirdest thing, and at first I wanted to get out of there but was too embarrassed to leave. So I decide to stick it out. Someone read from the bible and talked for a while about it. Some people seemed to have real joy, hope and a great peace in their lives. After the meeting people had a cup of tea together and I chatted with some men I knew who also had this joy and confidence in God’s love for them. I found myself there again the next week trying to figure it all out. After months of questioning I decided to sincerely ask Jesus to show me if He was real and the rest is history. I was radically transformed by the reality of God’s love for me personally and know that if I was the only one on the Earth He would have died for me personally, for my sins, so that I could go to heaven.
Its 30 years later and Jesus is as real to me as ever He was. I know I am going to heaven when I die. I am now part of a great Church called “River of Life” and enjoy being with people who love Jesus and know Him personally. He loves you too and has an amazing plan and purpose for your life! “If you search for me with all your heart you will find me,” Jesus says. He is waiting to hear from you personally. It’s up to you!!
My name is Tony and if you would like to know more contact me. But remember, curiosity can be dangerous and even life changing! God bless you!!
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