“A Time to Praise the Lord”
Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
The Prophet Jeremiah was reluctantly taken with those who sought the protection of Egypt. They rejected the word of God spoken by Jeremiah and fled from the Babylonians. While in exile the Prophet wrote these words: “Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! …But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”’ Lamentations 3:19ff
This I call to mind! Twenty Nine years ago, God broke into my heart. I look back and know that I was born again on January 29, 1986. Jeremiah’s words drew me to think back on God’s steadfast love for me. It is indeed a time to praise the Lord!
Every believer has a story of how God changed his life. My story is different, but God’s work of changing a sinner into a saint is the same for all of God’s people.
God doesn’t want to make us better people. He doesn’t want to smooth out our rough edges. No! God changes us. In a moment, in a flash, God makes everyone He chooses a new Creation, 2Corinthians 5:17.
Since that day, twenty nine years ago, I have been experiencing God’s mercies. Indeed they are “new every morning.” Now I look back and by God’s grace am able to see His hand in my every decision and circumstance. All along I thought that I was planning my steps, But, God was working out His plan for me that He established in eternity, Ephesians 2:10.
On January 29, 1986 God snatched me from the pit of hell. Whether you want to admit it or not, we all deserve to go to hell. I was heading to hell and was unaware of it. In fact, I never considered that God would ever judge me. I looked around me and thought that I was a better person than most. I was sure that at the end of the day my good deeds would outweigh my bad ones. Surely, God would be pleased to accept me. I never heard nor would I have accepted that all men and women are born spiritually dead. We are by nature children of God’s wrath, Ephesians 2:3.
God poured out His grace to me using a serious automobile accident to break me physically and spiritually. It was only by the providence of God that I survived the accident. The paramedics had to cut me out of my car. I was flown to a hospital in a larger city in Florida for treatment. Almost every bone in my body was broken. I sustained serious nerve damage as a result of spinal injury. My jaw was broken in two places. It had to be wired back together. As a result of head trauma, I didn’t regain stable consciousness until four days afterwards. When I awoke, I had a burning desire to run to Jesus. I had little knowledge of the truth of God, yet I had an unquenchable desire to know Him. By God’s sovereign grace, He raised me from death to life. He regenerated me. I was born from above!
Before God’s act of regeneration, I was blind to Him. I dare not boast of my faith in Christ. From beginning to end it is all by God’s grace. Jesus said that no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again, John 3:3, 5. God calls, regenerates, converts, justifies, adopts, sanctifies and glorifies. From the moment that God regenerates a man or woman, He begins His work of free grace called sanctification.
Over the weeks and months of recuperation, my desire for God grew. I read the Bible. I desired to worship God. I started to teach a small group Bible study. After five years, I was convicted by God to learn how to better teach His Word. He led me to seminary to learn and grow in Christ.
I have been an ordained minister of the gospel since 1994 and the Lord continues to show me His “mercies every morning.” Every day is a day to praise God but remembering what He did twenty nine years ago caused me to be filled anew with joy in Him. Soli Deo Gloria!