Avrell Bowden - Manatoba, Canada

Avrell Bowden“If I die tonight, where will I be? Heaven or Hell?”   

the personal story of Avrell Bowden

 

People make commitments to God an confessions of faith that sometimes have no reality.  At age 6 I made a false profession of salvation. That is, I told people I was saved.  I knew all the correct Bible answers in my head about the matte:  “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16). Since I knew God cannot lie and that was the only way to heaven, I decided that must mean I believe and therefore am saved. I started telling my relatives that I was saved, but shortly after begin to doubt if it truly was a real event for me.  I figured if I told more people then maybe the doubts would go away.  But I just felt guilty for lying to everyone about my spiritual condition. Next I tried really hard to sort out the matter but I had a mental block.  I thought to myself, “maybe the reason why I can't get saved is because that I already am saved.” That became my last thoughts every night before I went into a fitfull sleep.  By age 10, June 30, 1994 my parents faithfully brought me to gospel meetings in a nearby town. One night the spearker told us to get a piece of paper and pencil and write  “If I die tonight, where will I be? Heaven or Hell?”   We were supposed to take the paper home and answer it in private before going to sleep.  That night being very troubled I wrote out the sentence and drew a circle in the middle. I refused to circle hell and knew I wasn't going to heaven. My parents pointed out to me what I already knew—I had to choose one.  Just then a movie I had seen came to mind. An animal is unable to be free because around him is a net, evil men and a huge barrier of rocks. A boy he had come to trust, came and stood out on the rocks. The boy made a motion with his hand that to the animal meant jump.  Because he trusted the boy the lion jumped over the barrier of rocks and was free.  I saw myself as being caught in sin with the world, Satan and death closing in on me.  I had no where to flee as there was a huge barrier between God and I. But thankfully Jesus Christ came and bridged that barrier by dying on the cross for all my sin. To be free of my sin and all that was ensnaring me I had to simply trust Christ's Word to me - COME -. In coming not only was I free from sin but now I was free to LIVE.  I was always terrified to die but now I knew I'd live eternally with My God. I distinctly remember the time and circumstances of that night.  I was sitting on my bed between 10:30pm and 11:00pm when God saved me! Because I had struggled with doubts about salvation for 4 years, Satan wasted no time placing a new doubt in my mind.  ''How do you know you are saved? This might just be another false profession. You will never know for sure if you are saved!''  But now the Holy Spirit was within me and placed a verse to the forefront of my mind for reassurance.  ''That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth and believe with thine HEART that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou SHALT BE SAVED'' Roman 10:9  There is no room for doubt in those last 3 words.  Also, I knew that I was no longer just believing with my head but now my heart! It is said that the longest and hardest journey is often from the head to the heart.  My dad came down to my room and asked me if I had thanked God yet? I happily replied that I hadn't stopped thanking Him yet!Much has happened in my life since that time but despite my worst of sins I’ve been able to rest knowing that each one of them- past, present and future are all taken care of. This doesn’t give me liberty to sin but it does give me liberty to do whatever I want. The catch is this-- His wants and desires have become my wants and desires. Before He saved me I had no power to do what He wanted, now with the Holy Spirit living within me, He creates the desire and power to be free to do whatever He wants!  You can make yourself miserable by trying to be a better person. Without God it is impossible.  Any good a sinner tries to do God sees as tainted with their sin.   I would like you to know My Savior and My God in the same way. He is merciful and never leaves any sin unforgiven. Though he is merciful there will come a moment when your opportunity to come to Him will end.  I ask you to write on a piece of paper – “If I die tonight, where will I be? Heaven or hell?” Circle one.  I pray that before the end of the day, heaven will be circled, underlined and highlighted!