Justin Horton's Testimony

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For as long as I can remember, I have been attending church. I remember going to church on Sunday when I was five years old and being so happy to see my friends and getting to socialize with the congregation. I remember getting baptized at age seven, not because I believed that Christ died for my sins, but because I thought it was what my family wanted. As I grew older, church was more of a way for me to have fun and be occupied a few days out of the week. As a teenager, I joined a youth group, but I never fully grasped the true meaning of why I was there. I would go on Wednesday night and listen to my youth pastor preach about salvation and humbling myself to the Lord. On countless nights I would go and play games, laugh with my friends and pretend that I was a true believer in Jesus. To the outside world I seemed to be a Christian, but I would go home and be disrespectful to my mom and do many sinful things.

My senior year in high-school, something happened for the first time in my life, I fell in love. My life revolved around my girlfriend and like many teens do, I put church and God on the back burner. I would always say, "I want to get back into church" because it sounded both responsible and Christian like. After I graduated high school, I broke up with my girlfriend and started traveling around the country working and growing up. That is when my life took a turn for the worse. I would work hard every day, go to my hotel room, take a shower and immediately go out and drink with my friends. I would lie to everyone, even myself to the point that I started to believe the things I was lying about.

When I was twenty one, I got laid off from work and went back to my home town to live until work took back off. I got an apartment with my best friend from school, and I thought I was on my way to having a happy life. For almost two years I lived life as a partier, I would have people over at all times of the night and we would drink and have a so called "good time." I realized that I wasn't living in a way that made me happy, but I couldn't see myself living any other way. After being off of work for almost two years, I left my apartment and went to Arkansas with my dad to see about finding a job down there. I was staying at my uncle’s house in a small town when my dad told me that something great had happened to him, he had asked Jesus for forgiveness and devoted himself to the Lord. Now I still had my reservations about believing in Christ, but the fact that my dad, the most skeptical person I had ever met, had gotten saved was definitely an eye opener. After he got saved I started reading the New Testament and it didn't take long before I was totally submerged in the Gospel and reading the Bible every day. It was a totally different experience than when I was younger, this time when I read the Bible; I was able to take what I was reading and apply to my own life. I read how Jesus was such a loving and wise person and it truly touched me.

As I finished the Gospel and began reading Acts, I saw myself relating toPeter more and more. See Peter was one of Jesus' disciples and always seemed to love Him so much. It wasn't until the Last Supper that Peter was hit with news that would shake him to his core. Jesus told Peter that before the rooster crowed, Peter would deny Jesus three times to man. Of course Peter could not believe that, for he had followed Jesus faithfully for so long and loved Him so much, there was no way he could do that. Sure enough, as Jesus was being beaten by the Sanhedrin, someone asked Peter if he was one of the men who followed Jesus. Peter said he didn't know or understand what she was saying. Then a damsel asked Peter, "Are you not one of this man's disciples?" and Peter said "I am not." Finally, when Peter walked out to the porch another maid said "This man was also with Jesus of Nazareth." Peter said "I do not know the man", and then he heard the rooster crow and it reminded him of what Jesus said and he left and cried bitterly.

After Jesus was crucified and resurrected, Peter was out fishing when he sawJesus warming himself by the fire and Peter swam to shore. Jesus asked him he loved Him three times, one for each denial. Jesus forgave Peter and the HolySpirit engulfed Peter. In the book of Acts, Peter started preaching the word of Christ with a spiritual boldness throughout Jerusalem, Samaria, and to the Gentiles. This story gives me hope that even though someone falls off course, they can repent and come back stronger and bolder to do God’s will. I haven't been saved for very long, but I know that God has a miraculous plan for me to witness to those who are troubled or that have been led astray, to show as many people that I can that repenting your sins to Jesus is the only way to get to Heaven. I vow to not let him down.

Justin Horton

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