By Frederick Blanchard, 2011.
How does one begin a story that is uncomplicated and filled with simplicity? What words can capture the audience’s attention and eventually touch their hearts core for the case of Christ? All I can say or write down, is just how it is.
I grew up in a Christian home to which I am grateful. My dad was a Methodist and mom an Advent Christian, so every other Sunday we swapped churches. There were many times I tried to play sick so I wouldn’t have to go but mom saw past that and I went anyway. During my youth I went to many church camps for a week in the summer and went up front to what they label as an alter call. It’s basically admitting publicly that you’re a sinner and have a need to be forgiven; then accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and asking him into your heart. By mans standards I wasn’t a bad kid, but sin is still sin and that separates us from God. As the bible says, “all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God” [Romans 3:23].
I remember one day in high school a friend of mine said, “Boy you swear a lot” and he wasn’t a Christian as far as I know. That struck a chord with me because he was right. I believe that I was rebelling in some sort of fashion. But it started me thinking.
After high school I didn’t attend church that much but was lucky and married a Christian girl. It was through her influence that we started attending a bible based church again. Through the years I stumbled and fell, and got bruised by my sinful nature but God was just and faithful to continue to forgive me. [“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9]. There is no other high to be felt or obtained as the high one gets when they are within the grace of our Father, the God of creation. There is a special felt peace like none other as it says in Philippians 4:7. [“…the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”]
From time to time I would ponder over the questions of what do I have to offer God, how can He use a simple man like me, and how can I fit into His plan? I am a bit introverted and very shy so out right witnessing was not my forte or gift of any sorts. Looking back at my life I could see a few snapshots in time, of things that built the shell of introvertedness around me and sent me on a journey of withdrawal; which also gave me feelings of never being good enough. It got to one point in my life that I didn’t want to be in the public eye at all. During my “mid life crises era” I started writing poetry. I hated English in school and never read the stuff but found myself writing it. Weird huh? I soon prayed a dedication of these writings to God and asked if He could use them for His glory to touch lives and to help get people all over, to meditate on the Lord and His word. I have since written two books containing around 400 poems that have touched many hearts. Though I get discouraged from time to time, I also get encouraged by a timely message back from one of the many readers that has been touched in a time of their need. I praise God for bringing me out of my self conscience shell a little ways and has given me the courage to hand these books out to strangers. I continually pray that it’s His leading. There was one time that I had a small urge to speak to a friend about God, but I didn’t heed that voice and the young man died a few days later. That haunts me to this day, so I am trying not to let that happen again.
Today I wonder if my past witness did more harm to Christianity than good. Part of my struggles have been letting go of the past and moving forward, but I do know God forgets our past when we ask for forgiveness. [“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our sins and transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12] One of my prayers is that I ask God to protect others from my sinful nature so that I may be a better witness for Him. I pray that my actions, reveal my faith.
I now live in the presence of God but not by my works so that I may boast but it’s by grace through faith in Jesus. [“For by grace you have been saved through, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9] I praise God for now I live because He lives in me. The beauty about walking with the Lord is that He leads one step at a time. He holds onto us when we slip and He understands how difficult life can be, for He lived on earth and experienced first hand the trials of man.