by Frieda Cowling
Forty-four years ago God led my husband to leave his teaching position at the University of Tennessee to teach at Hyles-Anderson College. We sold our house and prayed that God would show us the house in Indiana He wanted us to have. We looked at one house and bought it. The week we moved in we met our closest neighbors, who were nice people but were not saved. We got to know them and shared the plan of salvation with them. They listened politely and said, “Thanks,” but “No, thanks.” They said, “We are happy that this means a lot to you, but we’re fine just the way we are.”
As the years went by, we tried to be good neighbors and live in such a way that they could see the difference Christ could make in a life. They commented on how well behaved our children were and occasionally hired our daughters to babysit for them. We took them treats at Halloween, “goodies” at Christmas, and baskets of strawberries and blueberries in the summer when we picked them. They had a tractor and would plow our driveway when it snowed, bring their wrecker and pull the church bus out of the ditch on an icy morning, and give us fresh vegetables from their garden.
We did not “bang them over the head with the Gospel,” but we prayed daily for their salvation and asked God to provide opportunities for us to share the gospel with them. When someone they loved was ill, they told us about it. They didn’t say, “Will you pray for them?” but we knew that’s why they told us.
When our son Kevin’s neck was broken when his parked car was struck by a drunk driver, we told our neighbors and they said, “God takes care of you.” When our son Keith “blacked out” coming home from a Sunday evening church bus route, jumped a guard rail, and flew down into the mire, we asked Tony to take his wrecker and pull out the car. When he saw the car, he said, “The car should have turned over and burned. It is a miracle you are alive. God must take care of you.”
The day our first grand-daughter Sara died at eight months of crib death, we called our neighbors, and they cried with us. I wrote an article for Christian Womanhood called “Dearest Sara” and gave a copy to them. Seven years later when Linda finally agreed to visit church with me on a big day in the fall, she told me, “I still have the article about Sara in my Bible and have read it many times.” In the car on the way to church that morning, Linda listened to the plan of salvation and accepted Christ as her Savior.
Her husband did not go to church, but every time we had a Hyles-Anderson College music tour group at our house, we would invite them over to listen—and they always came. The Christmas after Linda accepted Christ, we had a tour group over, and my husband told Jenny Kim to witness to Tony. They were standing by the front door, and Tony was listening intently while everyone walked by.
My husband walked past and Tony caught his arm. “Pete,” he said, “this girl is trying to save me, and she’s good at it.”
My husband replied, “She’ll tell you the Truth, and I would listen to her if I were you.” He listened but would not accept Christ. Jenny wrote him a letter encouraging him to accept Christ.
That winter we sold our house and moved closer to the college. My husband went over one more time to attempt to win Tony to Christ. They were talking, and my husband asked him if he wouldn’t make sure of a home in Heaven. Tony said, “Pete, do you remember when that girl talked to me at your house? I didn’t pray when she asked me, but I did later. You can tell her I am sure now that I will go to Heaven.”
After 22 years, it was a blessing to know that the kindest neighbors we had ever had were on their way to Heaven. God taught me a lesson about never giving up and believing our neighbors would be saved. There is nothing too hard for God, and God is limited only by our lack of faith. God will use our mouths to give the plan of salvation, our prayers to show them their need of salvation, and our lives to point them to Christ. However, the choice of whether to accept Christ and when they will do this is up to the individual. I am just glad they are saved today—even if it took 22 years!
You too can know for sure you are on your way to Heaven. Read the following:
I John 5:13 says, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
- The Bible says that all men are sinners. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) If you are honest with yourself, you know that you have told a lie. That is a sin. We are all sinners. Did you know that there is a penalty or price on your sin which must be paid?
- The Bible says that payment must be made for our sins. “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23a) Everyone knows that a wage is what we earn for doing a job. God says that we earn a wage or penalty for our sins. This is death in Hell. “And all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8b) Because we are sinners, we deserve to go to Hell forever to pay for our sins which we have committed. God does not want anyone to go to Hell to pay for his sins. He gives us a choice.
- The Bible says that only Jesus can save us from Hell because only Christ paid for our sins. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) God loves us very much. In fact, He loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for us. When Jesus died on the cross, He took upon Himself every sin that you or I would ever commit. When He died on the cross, He paid our price for our sin, which is death. Jesus was buried, but He arose from the dead; He conquered death and sin.
Many know about the death of Jesus on the cross, but many have failed to make it personal by accepting Jesus Christ as their Saviour from death and Hell.
- To receive the free gift of eternal life and go to Heaven, we must accept Jesus Christ into our heart as our personal Saviour. Eternal life is only through Jesus. “But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23b) Eternal life is a free gift of God. Gifts do not cost us anything to receive. Life in Heaven is free and does not cost one thing to receive—not baptism nor trying to be a good person. For sure, these things are good to do, but they will not take us to Heaven when we die. In fact, we cannot do anything of ourselves to take us to Heaven but to call on Jesus and trust only in Him as our Saviour. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
Here is how to accept Christ as your Saviour. Do you admit that you are a sinner? Do you admit that because of your sins you deserve to go to Hell? Do you realize that Jesus died on the cross for your sins? Do you realize that Jesus wants to give you eternal life in Heaven if you are simply willing to call on Him and trust in Him as your Saviour?
Since Jesus would be willing to take you just the way you are, wouldn’t you be willing to receive Jesus as your Saviour right now?
Praying does not take anyone to Heaven, but receiving Jesus into your heart gives you eternal life in Heaven. If you would like to receive Jesus as your Saviour, then sincerely tell Jesus something like this: “Dear Jesus, forgive me of my sins. I trust You today, Jesus, and only You, to take me to Heaven when I die. Thank You for saving me. Amen.”
According to the Bible, if you were to die today, you would go to Heaven because in John 3:36 the Bible says, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.”