My testimony begins when I was only two or three weeks old and I was "baptized" into the "One True Church" at the parish of IJP, a Roman Catholic Church.
My experience with religion was not too good after that. By the time I was a senior in high school, the only God I worshipped was myself. I took pride in my own intellect, my own abilities, I was more than enough of a God for myself.
The driving ambition of my life was to get into the University of Notre Dame. It was the only thing that gave my life meaning. I remember that when I got in, I felt that everything would be perfect. When I got there, I discovered a whole new world of sin and debauchery that exists in colleges everywhere. This was Fall of 2000. While I was at ND, I started feeling guilty over the sin around me. I felt that since I did not fit in this meant that I had to be a priest. So I started going to Mass almost everyday, building up a form of righteousness, but not knowing that as Isaiah wrote, "All my righteous deeds were like filthy rags to Him."
Part of the way into the first semester, I met a good born again friend of mine named Steve, he is now one of my closest brothers in the LORD. He talked to me about evolution, and why he did not believe it. Little did I know that barely six months later I would be stating to my own father that I interpreted Genesis literally and believed the Earth was created 6000-10000 years ago. Truly, "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away, new things have come." (2 Cor 5:17).
I realize now that God was allowing me to build up a sense of my own righteousness so that I would realize my need for Him. Basically, I was chained to the sin of masturbation, I was addicted. I found myself masturbating to mental fantasies of women nearly 3 to four times per week at least. However, in the most delightful of all ironies, God used the very Catechism of the Catholic Church to draw me unto Him. I talked to a friend, and he told me that the Catholic Church can consider masturbation a mortal sin. Oops! That meant I was going to Hell. I did not believe him, but I checked the Catechism. I was in deep doo-doo, or so I thought.
Well, then, I, the Catholic who hated Mass, "But who knew that those born-again Christians were a little nuts", had the brilliant idea that I could pray to Jesus on a day by day basis, using Him as the Ultimate Confessional. I did this a couple of nights, by the third night, I knew it was hopeless, I broke down into tears and asked the most High God to forgive me of my sins, As I am writing this, tears still come to my eyes and I have been saved since January of 2001.
Over the next couple of weeks, I just knew that I was not afraid of death, that He loved me so much that He was willing to die for me on a cross. Friends, if you do not know the LORD, if you think that Christ could not love you, that is wrong. "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.... but the wages of sin is eternal death while the free gift of eternal life is of Christ Jesus" Romans 3:23; 6:23. Truly, "For God so loved the World that He Sent His Only Begotten Son, that Whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."
Needless to say, I started having a hunger to read the Bible for some reason. I could understand it now, it made sense. Jesus was real! I started going with my friend to his church, a Calvary Chapel Affiliate, and being fed the Word. A Couple of Months later, I left the Catholic Church for Good, with no real regrets. My reason was simple, He wanted me to be at Calvary Chapel. All that matters is His will, His Purpose. "Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God." Romans 8:14
I will be honest. I still sin, I am still as Isaiah put it, "A man of unclean lips and an unclean heart" before the glory of God, but I feel His love burning in my Heart. My true food now is to do the Will of Him who sent His Son to die for me. Nothing else matters but the Kingdom. God has given me such a heavy heart for all those who do not know Him. I used to think that I was going to be a doctor. Now all I want to do is to preach the Gospel on top of every street corner and give the Simple Truth to a lost and dying world.
One final point, right now, you might be searching for Truth. Jesus Christ is the Truth, the Way, and the Life, and no man comes unto the Father but by Him (Jn 14:6). You want to know that God loves you, but you feel something separating you from Him, that thing is called sin. It keeps you away from Him because He is Holy and Righteous. But "Come and Let Us Reason Together saith the LORD, though your sins are as red as scarlet, they shall be washed as white as wool."
Jesus died the death on the Cross for you that you deserved. God loved you so much that He died the most painful death imaginable. He would have done it just for you, even if you were the Only sinner to ever come to now Him. It is written in the Scriptures that "We know that He loves us that while we were sinners, Christ died for us." Also, Jesus Himself said, "NO man has greater love than to die for a friend." I urge you to let Jesus be your best friend, let Him into your heart. You are searching for something, something has been drawing you near to Him. It says, "Behold, I am standing at the door and knocking. If any man opens it, I will come in and sup with him, and he will sup with me forever." You can have your sins forgiven, just by believing the LORD's work on the Cross for you.
How do you do this? Simple, Repent of your sins and hand your life over to God. There is no complicated sinners pray to do in this, you can do it silently in your own heart. Here is a simple one.
"God, I have sinned against you. Please forgive me. Come into my heart Lord Jesus, cleanse me from within. Become the Lord of my Life. Amen"
I pray that you accept the free gift of forgiveness of your sins. God has done so many things in my life, and I pray that you will allow Him to show how much He loves you by turning away from sin, believing, and letting Him into your heart.
In Christ, Tim Peplinski.