To an eight year old boy it doesn’t get any better than a Sunday evening filled with “Wonderful World of Disney” and “Bonanza!” Television programming in 1965 meant that we had just received our first color television and could watch all three channels in color. However the God of the universe had other plans for me than to spend the evening watching color television.
Just as Tinker Belle had just dusted the magic kingdom, I noticed that my mother was not in the living room with Daddy and me. My Dad was reading the Shreveport Times which was one of his favorite past times. I asked Dad where was Mama? He did not know either so I got up to look for her.
When I found my Mother she was kneeling beside the bed praying in the dark. My Mother was a devout believer of the Lord and a student of the Bible so I was not surprised to find her kneeling in prayer. I knelt beside her and she began to ask me questions.
“How are you feeling at school?” she asked. I may have been young but I thought I could take advantage of that question. I responded, “Mama I don’t feel very good.” I thought I could just stay home from school. She continued to ask if I had been thinking about heaven or hell. My response was no, but at that moment I began to think about it a lot.
While on our knees in the dark of that small bedroom my mother shared with me Scripture from the book of Romans that she had memorized. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (Rom 3:10 KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Rom 3:23 KJV) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 6:23 KJV) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Rom 10:13 KJV)”
It was at that very moment that I realized I needed Jesus Christ to save me. I fully understood that I was a sinner and enough of a sinner to be separated from God and deserving of hell. I also understood from Sunday School and Vacation Bible School that Jesus lived a long time ago, but He died on a cross to pay for my sins and to forgive me and save me.
Mama asked me if I wanted to ask Jesus to forgive me and save me. Without one second of hesitation I said yes. I bowed my head and began to pray out loud. “Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and come into my heart and save my soul.” That was over fifty one years ago and I still remember it as if it were last night. I saw no lights. I heard no angels. I felt no feelings except for a peace that come over my heart and mind. But from the minute I asked Jesus to save me, He did!
I don’t remember anything else I said in that prayer, but one thing I knew, I had been saved! There was a burdened lifted from my eight year old heart. All of my sins had been forgiven. At eight years old it was not a lot, but they were all forgiven. I had a joy in my heart that I had not had before. I was saved, I was forgiven, and I was happy about it! Mama explained that if we hurried we could still get to evening services. I was going to be baptized!
As I went to my room to get ready I remember saying, “Mama, we should go to church every Sunday night!” We piled my dry clothes in a brown paper grocery bag and headed to church.
I walked in the First Baptist Church of Springhill, Louisiana with my paper bag and my new salvation. Our church was having a weekend youth revival. A young evangelist named Mike Harmon was preaching a sermon called, “When The Lights Go Out On The Road to Hell.” When he finished the sermon I was really glad I had already been saved! The time had come for the invitation and for me to walk down front and tell everyone what I had done. I stepped out and walked right up to Pastor Howard White. He asked me what he could do for me. I said, “I just got saved! I want to be baptized and I brought my clothes.” I was baptized that very night in front of a packed house at our church.
For the past fifty one years I have been kept in salvation by His amazing grace. During that time I have sinned, rebelled, and failed, but He has never withdrawn His saving grace from me. He has never failed me and has always been good and faithful to me.
I have learned so much about Him and His salvation since that Sunday night in 1965 and I want to know Him more. Of all the great things that has happened to me, my loving wife, two awesome kids, four wonderful grand kids, the call to preach and pastor a church, nothing compares to that small dark bedroom with my mother in tears praying for me and telling me how to be saved.
I don’t know where you are. You may be reading this in a hospital, a church, your home, but you too can be saved. Like me, just ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and save your soul. It is that simple and yet that life changing.