As I look back on the past thirty-eight years of my life, I can't help but be amazed at the gentle hand of God guiding me along the way.

Born and raised a Roman Catholic, I had always had a deep love and reverence for God and possessed a desire to please Him. I wanted to be the best Catholic I could be. I accepted everything I was taught without question. I even tried to read the Bible a few times, but would always get discouraged and quit.

In my later teens I began to ask God to enlighten me spiritually so that I could discern truth. I had a lot ow facts given to me by people but no concrete proof that this was in fact what God wanted. I had all along assumed that the priests and certainly the pope knew what they were talking about. Yet, I never read the Bible to verify their teachings for myself. I wanted truth but I guess I wasn't interested enough to take the time to find it.

As I look back now, I can see how God honored my simple prayer for truth and opened my eyes spiritually to a few of the things that were happening around me. The Catholic church began making changes in their teachings. It declared that eating meat on Fridays was no longer a mortal sin. That really confused me. How could one generation be cast into hell for something that was okay a generation later? Is that God's fairness? Other issues began to arise through which God helped me to realize that something was wrong. If God is the same yesterday, today, and forever as it says in Hebrews 13:8, then how can things that were once so wrong be perfectly permissible now. In spite of my confusion, I continued to be faithful to my church and its beliefs.

During the next ten years as I married and raised a family, both my husband and I were faithful Catholics but God continued to open both our eyes to the inconsistencies in the Catholic church.

Unknowing to me, God was also dealing with my younger brother, Larry. One evening I received a call informing me that Larry had left the Catholic church and joined a Baptist church. I immediately called Larry to find out why. We agreed on a family meeting to be held at the end of the week in which Larry brought with him his new pastor.

The big evening finally arrived and we, as Catholics, were prepared. We found our Catholic Bible and were ready to defend our faith even though not one of us knew one Scripture verse. The Baptist minister began to talk about heaven and hell. I began asking questions. He was so sure he was going to heaven. I had tired to live my best but I sure couldn't claim that I knew for sure I was going to heaven. The pastor then showed me 1 John 5:11-13, "...These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life..."

God was telling me here that I could know that I would have eternal life. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:8, "We are confident, I say, and to be present with the Lord." He knew where he was going when he died, didn't he?

The pastor then asked me if I was trusting Jesus alone to be my personal Saviour. Well, he had me there. I certainly knew that Jesus had died for my sins on the cross and I believed in the Bible but I couldn't say that my only trust was in Jesus. I trusted in a lot of things to get me to heaven. I certainly had hoped that my good living, my attending church, and the sacraments I received would help. I prayed to Mary to intercede for me and many times have I said the rosary on the first Saturday of each month so I could go to heaven. The pastor then showed me what God had to say about my good works in Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith and that now of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." and Isaiah 64:6, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags..." He explained that my being good and doing everything I was supposed to do would not help get me to heaven. They may seem good to us but next to God's perfection, all the goodness we can muster up is still filthy rags. He asked me to turn to 1 Timothy 2:5 and I read, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." That was really convicting to me. If there is only one then there is no other. My prayers to Mary were not going anywhere. God says Jesus is the only go between. I was practicing idolatry. I was trusting in other things to help me to heaven.

That was it! Jesus totally paid for everyone's sins on Calvary. John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." God offers us all His free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. All we must do is accept that gift and call upon the name of the Lord. Your good works can't save you, Jesus can; your church can't save you, Jesus can; and even Mary can't save you, only Jesus can.

It was all so clear now. I saw myself as a lost sinner trying to get to heaven every way except the right way -- which is accepting God's free gift of forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ.

Needless to say, I accepted Christ as my Saviour. I no longer have to worry about purgatory. There's no such place. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:8, "that to be absent for the body is to be present with the Lord."

My life was totally changed. Christ says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature'; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." My husband also called on the Jesus to save him. We promised God that we would begin reading His Word, the Bible, and search for what God says is truth, not man's truth. We joined a church that uses and teaches the Bible. Life has new meaning for me now. I'm happy in Jesus and I want others to find that happiness. Maybe God is speaking to you through this tract. The Bible states in John 6:44, "No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him..." It could be that the Father is trying to draw you into the true Body of Christ. The Bible also says in 2 Corinthians 6:2, "...behold, the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." It may cost you to take a stand. It may cause friction between family members and friends but isn't everlasting life worth it? Read Matthew 10:34-39.

The whole world is lost in the darkness of sin

The light of the world is Jesus.

Like sunshine at noonday His Glory shown in

The light of the world is Jesus.

Come to the light, tis shining for thee.

Sweetly the light had dawned upon me.

Once I was blind, but now I can see.

That the light of the world is Jesus.

YOUR DECISION FOR CHRIST

If you will turn to God in prayer and pray these words and mean them with all your heart, then God will save you.

Dear Lord Jesus, I now realize I am a sinner in need of personal salvation. I now put my full and complete trust in Your sacrifice on the cross to save me. I now believe You are the only mediator between God and men. I open my heart's door and receive You as Saviour and Lord of my soul. I repent of my sins and ask You to take full control of my life and help me to live for you from this day forward...Amen.

Joyce Mlinek

the Salvation Online Network