Sweeter As The Years Go By
by Donald Mehl 5/03/2010 / Testimonies
The spring, summer and fall seasons of my life have past by existing only in my memory. I am now living within the days of the short winter season that God has allowed for me. I understand and accept that fact.
It was about fifty-five years ago at age fifteen when I responded to an altar call during an evening service in a small-town church. That night the Holy Spirit convicted me of my spiritually lost condition, and led me to tearfully reach out and submit to the Lord accepting His free gift of salvation that changed my life.
That night my eternal future became safe and secure in Him forever sealed with the Holy Spirit indwelling deep within my heart and soul as the Scriptures promise (Eph. 1:13-14). Without a doubt, that life changing moment was, and always will be, the most significant event of my life.
However, when I reflect on those fifty-five years, I am saddened and ashamed as I recall the many times when I did not give all the honor and glory to Him. There were wasted years of selfish motives and pride, and years of not placing Christ first in my life above all else. During many of those years my prayer times were minimal at best, and I lacked a desire to study the Word with regularity. Oh, how I would love to have those years back to re-live them for Him.
I had become a born-again believer as a young adult, but due to the many distractions, pressures and temptations surrounding me, along with the busyness of life, I had allowed things of the world to take a higher priority over my new-found faith. My primary focus had been directed toward personal goals and accomplishments, family and friends, and workplace success. Although I knew the Lord was nearby, I had failed to always lean on Him and depend on Him as the Lord and Master of my life.
But, thanks and praises be to God, He will never allow His own to wander far away from Him. The Scriptures promise that He will never leave us or forsake us (Josh. 1:5). We have the promise of Romans 8:35-39 that absolutely nothing could ever separate us from the love of God. When His sheep become lost and stray far away from the pathway He would have for them, the Good Shepherd will find them wherever they are, and then, lovingly call them back to Him.
John 10:27-28 NKJV
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.
Although I had wandered away from a close relationship with the Lord, He found me where I was in life and called me back home. As taught in the parable of the lost son (Luke 15:11-32), I came running back to His arms arms that were open wide to welcome me. From that moment forward, nothing has ever been the same. I quickly came to understand that if He is not Lord of all, then, He is not Lord at all.
During the fall season of my life, He began to reveal His Will and His plan for me in ways I had never before imagined. My prayer became, "You lead the way, Lord, and I will follow." For the first time in my life I was not only confident, but anxious to shout out to others, "I am His, and He is mine! Do you know Him?"
Jeremiah 29:11-13 NASB
For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
Since He re-gained my attention, the Scriptures began to open up to me as never before. I have developed a burning desire to share the saving gospel message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2; 1 Cor. 15:1-4). The message of the cross must be heard and understood by all.
Also, the study of Bible prophecy, specifically eschatology (study of end time events), has produced an intense urgency within me as end time prophecy unfolds almost daily before our eyes. I feel led to be a watchman, as explained in Ezekiel 33:6, ready to sound a trumpet warning of imminent end time events as foretold by Scripture - for all who would listen.
Much to my surprise, God has revealed two unknown talents hidden within me for His honor and glory woodcarving and writing.
My interest in woodcarving began about ten years ago through unlikely circumstances. Most of the carvings display Biblical themes and Truth. I believe that carved pictures illustrating God's message of salvation, His love, and the glory of His creation can be brought into view from deep within a plain piece of wood, and when finished, they serve as a unique type of ministry.
As it was with woodcarvings, my writing work also began in a surprising way. Throughout all of my school years and for most of my life, I had a strong dislike for writing anything. But then, one day just a few years ago, the Lord ignited a new flame within me, urging me to begin sharing the Good News of the gospel with others - using the writing skills that I didn't know existed.
As the Lord leads, my writings share the gospel message in devotionals, Bible studies, inspirational pieces, and prophecy. Also, they occasionally include some short stories and humor. Many of the writings appear in numerous Christian publications and websites. As of this date, over fifty written articles have been published.
It is truly amazing what God will do with us after we choose to follow Him, and allow Him to be the Lord and Master of our life! The lyrics from the chorus of the hymn, "The Longer I Serve Him," come to mind:
The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows,
The more that I love Him, more love He bestows;
Each day is like heaven, my heart overflows,
The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows.
One day all those who by faith alone (Eph. 2:8-9) have been redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb will meet our Savior face to face. For some of us, that moment will come sooner rather than later. On that day in heaven at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10), there will be a judgment for all believers when heavenly rewards will be gained, or lost, for our faithfulness, our motives, and for the fruits of our labor as believers (1 Cor. 3:11-15).
I know I will be there as the Scriptures promise for every born-again believer, but the early seasons of my life produced very little good fruit for His honor and glory. While humbly kneeling at Jesus' feet, my outstretched hands will be empty - revealing nothing worthy for the Master and His kingdom.
It is my prayer that, during the fall and winter seasons of my life, the Truth of the gospel message has gone forth providing tiny seeds, sown and ready to sprout in the lives of many. I pray that the Holy Spirit would convict those who are lost and searching, and that precious people everywhere would reach out by faith to receive His free gift of salvation.
Romans 10:9-10 NIV
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
Day by day the seasons of our life pass us by, and like the sands in an hourglass, they will one day be gone. When we truly know Him as our Savior, our Lord and our Master, each passing year becomes sweeter and more precious than the year before. Do you know Him today? Have you verbally and openly, and in an unashamed manner confessed to others that Jesus is Lord?
Do you truly belong to Him? You must be very sure!
During retirement, my prayer is that I might serve the Lord by sharing the Gospel through my writing. As the Lord leads, my work will inform, challenge and encourage. I also enjoy Biblical theme woodcarving, Bible studies and Christian music. Watch, pray and keep looking up!