Published April 5, 2016

Paul's Epistle
"Tracy's Testimony"

Over the last few months, a recurring topic in these columns1 has been the fact that so many people who seem to be Christians are, in fact, Christians in name only. They have never, for whatever reason, actually accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

I have been encouraged by how many have shared testimonies in this regard – how they have been led to the inescapable conclusion that they needed actively to ask the Lord's forgiveness and truly become a follower of Christ – a Christian.

Tracy Kelley Byrd has been known as a singer with Hope's Journey and more recently as a soloist with Tracy Byrd Ministries. She's also the wife of bass Randy Byrd of the Mark Trammell Quartet. Recently she posted the following testimony, shared here by permission. It illustrates well what we've been discussing.

"Twenty-six years ago I made the greatest decision I've ever made in my life. I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart!

"As a child I had proclaimed salvation but had never truly asked him in my heart. At that time my daddy had gotten out of church and we had a rough home life. Several of our church members came to our home to visit and began singing songs in hopes of touching my daddy's heart so that he would make things right with God. I was wanting so bad for Daddy to get back in church because I knew he was a different man when he was in church.

"So I began crying while they were singing simply because I was wanting so bad for him to change. But the church members took it as if I wanted to be saved. So they prayed for salvation for me and after that they announced to the church I was saved, thinking I was just too shy to speak for myself.

"Years went on and the devil eventually had me convinced in my mind I was saved. Over the years I worked with the youth in church, sang in the choir, sang specials, taught Bible School and was a very active member of the church.

"In 1990 our preacher at the time was Bro. Danny English. He had been preaching on salvation. God began dealing with me and showing me I had never truly been saved. In my mind I battled with my pride. How could I tell everyone I had never been saved after all of the things I had done in church? What would everyone think and say?

"Then I realized it didn't really matter what others thought and said. This was between me and God and this was the most important decision I could ever make.

"On April 1, 1990 during the service, I stepped out and swallowed my pride and went to the altar and cried out to God to forgive me of my sins and come in to my heart and dwell as my personal Savior!

"Have I been perfect? No way. But he is a forgiving God. Has my life been perfect and problem free? No, but He has always been with me carrying me though and giving me strength and grace to make it though everything I've faced. He is my everything! In good times and bad times, He is faithful!"

I was especially struck by Tracy's comment, "the devil eventually had me convinced in my mind I was saved." If he successfully convinces people of that – if, in fact, they are not truly saved – he has kept another soul from heaven. And, of course, that's what the deceiver wants.

I've been presenting such testimonies because I am certain there are many more people out there who fit this category. Perhaps it's someone you know. Perhaps it's a family member. Perhaps it's you. Today would be a great day to settle the matter once and for all by definitively accepting the forgiveness Christ offers, making Him your Savior and Lord2.

- Paul

1. See previous recent columns on this topic here and here and here.
2. See our "Free Gift" page for related Scriptures and more info.

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