October 28, 2010

Beginnings

If you're joining from Proverbs 31 Ministries Daily Devotion, welcome! I asked Javier some questions and am blown away by his answers. I'm inspired to continue planting seeds...hope you are too!!

Journeys cannot always be measured in physical distance. ~Shawn McDonald

Faith is not merely a journey for the feet, but it is a journey for the heart. ~AW Tozer
{Javier and his beautiful wife, Nicole}

Q. Growing up, did you hear about the Lord in your home?
A. I grew up in Costa Rica, where near 100% of the population is Catholic. So, yes, I grew up hearing about the Lord. The difference was that I learned more about traditions and rituals about the church than about God's love for me.

Q. How many people had an impact on you coming to know Christ?
A. Hard to tell, but I am sure there were several. Like I wrote to you in that email, I truly felt God was planting seeds in my life. There were key people that were placed there for a reason. That reason was to learn about our loving God who has known me by name since before I was born.

Q.
What things happened along the way that turned your heart to the Lord?
A. I feel that my story is one of a long courtship. God loved me so much and never gave up on me. I knew about Him since I was little, but I didn't know He loved ME this much until my late 20s. He has been there with me along some hard parts of my life when I really doubted Him.

Q.Would you mind sharing about your moment of salvation?
A. I knew about God, but going to church meant standing when everyone else stood, kneeling when everyone else did, and trying to make it through the sermon. I really did not enjoy going. That continued and worsened when I was older and had the choice to attend. College life was hard as I felt so separated from God; I deeply felt sad and empty. I joined a fraternity and that just made me feel worse as we spent a lot of time partying.

I was accepted to Physician Assistant school at a small christian university in 2000 and it was there were I was surrounded even more by God. Our class would pray every day and [I thought] that it was so weird.

Things didn't change much after grad school. [Though] I made some good friends that helped me along my path to becoming a christian.

I started going to a small church with a friend. I could not believe the things Pastor Craig said. It was so apparent then that it wasn't about how good I had been or will be. It wasn't about good deeds or how much money I gave. God loves me for who I am and doesn't care about my past. ALL my sins were forgiven when He sent His Son Jesus Christ to pay for my sins--when what I really deserved was definitely not salvation.

This was earth shattering to me. I'd never heard of these things; that the King of all kings would send His only Son to die for ME and forgive all my sins. I still love thinking about that.

A few weeks later Pastor Craig told me how to accept Christ; I didn't know how. There was no application to fill out. He said to ask God to restore my heart, so that is exactly what I did. I did not have a moment where I spoke to God. My [salvation] was at that sincere moment when I told God I knew I was broken and needed Him to restore my heart. If it was left up to me, I knew I couldn't change.

I almost feel as if God was with me all those years, courting me, but didn't make me His bride until I was ready to accept Him.

Q. Any advice/wisdom for those praying for someone to come to know Christ?
A. When people approached me about God I automatically wanted to run the opposite way. I probably learned more about God by watching how He changed friends' lives. Just being around them and them being casual about it worked for me. I found myself asking questions when I was ready. They waited patiently to share the Good News with me rather than being aggressive. My advice would be to love on your friends that don't know Christ and be patient to share the Gospel. They will eventually want to learn all about His love for us.

Thank you Javier! I really appreciate you sharing your testimony!
Especially the part of how God courted you with His love.

Leave a comment to be entered in the Louie Giglio's How Great is Our God DVD series give-away.

34 comments:

Donna said...

This was such a beautiful story of the Lord drawing someone over the years. I'm glad to read that sometimes talking about the Lord makes someone run. The most effective thing we can do is love them. I've witnessed someone running from me so I stopped mentioning the Lord unless he does. It's good to know there is still hope.

Sharon Sloan - Joy In The Truth said...

Wow, Sam, LOVED reading this! I LOVED how Javier said it was a "long courtship" by God. How beautiful!!!!! He loves us so much! Javier, we are rejoicing with you and for you!!

Sam, how encouraging that God uses us often when we don't even know it. And this fruit has been ripening a LONG time!! Must be extra sweet for you! Love you!

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Colleen said...

What a great testamony. It is a good reminder that we need to always be mindful of our actions and words. We never know who is watching or listening. Thank you

Anonymous said...

What a great story! I understand how you felt when you stated you grew up learning the traditions and rituals of church. I believe that it is NOT the denomination of the church but the TIME that you are ready to open your heart to God. Your parents likely planted that first seed when you were young and for whatever reason you were not ready to accept Christ until you were more mature. By God's grace He kept putting people in your path to come to know Him. It was all there in your first church, but you need to know when that time is right for you. When it becomes a personal decision that YOU make. I'm so glad to hear that you did!! God never gives up on us!
A Catholic sister in Christ

lisasmith said...

What a neat story!! I pray my Light shines when I'm intentional & even when sadly I'm not. It's all by His grace!

Anonymous said...

It's wonderful to know that our faith in God is visible to those around us. That in itself declares the Glory of our God who continues to reach out to lost souls even when we can't bring ourselves to open our mouths sometimes.I am blown away at times by the love that God has for the human race, and I pray that my mouth will praise him, and testify of His greatness to others....until the whole world hears....thank you for the post, it was inspiring and encouraging to me.
Barbara R. crabar5859@clearwire.net

Eileen said...

This is absolutely beautiful. I love Javier's answer to your third question. It is definitely a courtship and God woos us to Him. He never gives up on us! I love how we can look back and see His hand all along the way. :) Thanks to you and Javier for sharing this!

katie said...

what a great testimony and a great reminder that we always do not realize that we are planting seeds in someones life BUT God will use what we unknowingly planted to bring that person into the kingdom. Thanks for sharing :)

Christy said...

Wow, what an awesome story. The things Javier said about habits, and going with the norm really hit home! I've recently been thinking and praying that God enables me to be a christian that lives out loud, and not someone merely going thru the motions. Thanks for the encouragement.

Heather S. Deaton said...

Thanks for sharing, Samantha. I think it is important to encourage each other as Christians, so we know we do not labor in vien. What a blessing and gift you were to Javier. What a great positive story of reaping what you have sown and receiving the blessing for your efforts ten years later.

Momma Shoe said...

What an encouraging post! An excellent reminder that often times living it is just as important as sharing it. Thanks so much for sharing this story. It gives me hope that even if I don't know which seeds have been planted or watered, they might be growing in a big way!

Melissa Taylor said...

Sam,
I love this story! And I loved reading Javier's words about how he developed a relationship with Christ.

"It was so apparent then that it wasn't about how good I had been or will be. It wasn't about good deeds or how much money I gave. God loves me for who I am and doesn't care about my past. ALL my sins were forgiven when He sent His Son Jesus Christ to pay for my sins--when what I really deserved was definitely not salvation."

Amen! Thanks Sambo for sharing this and reminding us that we are used by God for great things even though we might not even be aware of it.

Great devo!

slds56 said...

A wonderful reminder this morning that while we are "living" our life each day,people around us are watching.
I love the part about how he shared that he had a long courtship with christ. Another reminder that He is working, even when we can't see it.
Thanks for sharing this beautiful love story.

Carol Davis said...

You are a unique light shining in places that you never even imagined. Honored to call you sis!

Mindy said...

I love Javier's story about how Christians are much more inspirational in their actions than in their words. I am glad to have this reminder that I must be mindful of all I say and do throughout my day. Thanks so much !

Josh, Jess and Jorja Behe said...

What a blessing! It is always so neat to see how God uses us even when we don't know it. Let our light shine bright each and every day!!!

Crystal said...

What a great reminder that as we are to set ourselves apart in how we conduct ourselves that our unsaved friends see and are impacted by the things that are different about us. They will know us by our love for one another.

valerie in TX said...

Hi Samantha, I'm visiting today from your Proverbs 31 devotion. Thank you so much for sharing this story. I so often feel ashamed that I don't open my mouth more to tell my neighbors/friends/co-workers about Jesus. Thank you for Javier's story that it's not always about what we say.

"Preach the gospel always. If necessary use words." ~ St. Francis of Assisi

homeschoolof2 said...

Wow! What an awesome testimony & devotional. I loved it when Javier talked about GOD loving him inspite of his past. It is so crucial for us to understand that GOD loves us, inside & out. How wonderful some 10 years later to get an email say how God had used you to make a difference in someon's life. Thanks for the devotional & sharing GOD'S awesomeness with Javier's story.

Kay Jantz said...

Wow this has so affirmed to me what I have been receiving from God in my studies through Proverbs 31, my church, and study of a book named Radical, by David Platt. Amanda your thoughts are beautifully expressed and the scripture was so perfect. We just never know who we are impacting or how we are impacting. May God continue to bless you fully with the written word to encourage others.

Anonymous said...

Love the music on the DVD, great testimonial by Javier

Michelle' said...

Amazing!! We forget what such little acts of love can reap HUGE rewards. God tells us how it is easy to see we are His by how we love each other. I'm so inspired - thank you.

Kristen said...

Thank you for the reminder that even if we don't see the fruit right away, everything we say and do CAN be used by God!

K. Langston said...

What a great post, Samantha! Thanks so much...you never that people are watching as we walk out the faith...

Goofy Scrapper said...

It is always refreshing to hear how that planted seed grew into something wonderful! We often times spend so much time praying for those around us and drift apart without learning the rest of their life story. Thanks for sharing -- from both of you!

Anonymous said...

I was so excited this morning when I read "Beginnings". My husband and I have separated and I feel he is running. I pray that the seeds that have been planted will grow in his heart! What a wonderful God we serve! Thanks for being such an encouragement!

Irene said...

What an encouragement! This gives me great hope that God is able to use anything and everything! Thank you, this has encouraged me to keep on loving people and not get discouraged during this “courting” process.

Fields of gold said...

Thank you all for YOUR encouragement!! I'm spurred on by what you have said.

I'm praying for each of you as you walk with our sweet Jesus, proclaiming Him in speech, life, love, faith, & purity!!

Hugs and blessings,
Sam

Fleener's said...

It was great to hear Javier's testimony and how he can now see how God had Christians working in his life before he accepted the Lord as his savior. I have many friends and my only sister I continue to pray for and hope I am leading and being a good example for them to see. I pray they will someday accept the Lord as their savior too. Thank you,

Emily

Sharon Sloan - Joy In The Truth said...

Love the picture! :) That's exactly how I would expect a "Javier" to look! And his wife is gorgeous!

You're the best Sambo (to quote Melissa). Sambo was my favorite southern restaurant as a kid....we'd stop there for pancakes on road trips to Florida! I know...you are much younger than me!!!!!

Hugs,
Sharon

Shagufta said...

It's encouraging that behaving like Christ can be such a great witness to people. Great testimony Javier!

:) Shagufta

Katie said...

Thanks for the reminder and encouragement to keep living out loud for Christ! I'll definitely pass this on. :)
--Katie

Kristin said...

What a beautiful story! I'll be sharing this with my children to encourage them to always be aware of the eternal significance our interactions can have on other people. I'm praying God will use us to plant seeds everywhere we go!

Fields of gold said...

We have a winner of the Louie Giglio DVD!!! I used True Random Number Generator powered by RANDOM.ORG and it came up with #19, Homeschoolof2!

Please send me your mailing address to samantha@proverbs31.org and I'll get it in the mail to you asap!