©1975-2005 Deborah Martin
Does It Really Matter?
Notes about my life.
Finding the love of God is a one-to-one affair. It is the most precious destination one could hope to discover. Words will never equal the experience, but words are all we have to give future generations. They record our existence, and share what we have learned within the boundaries of life on earth. These words are an effort to share my journey with you.
The mandate of heaven is that every individual must stand alone before God. No matter how many people exist, we walk this world as solitary people. We may share the earth, we may share the things of earth, but we are held solely responsible for our ultimate decision about God. No one can escape this burden. It arrives with conception and travels with us beyond death to our final judgment at the Great White Throne. This is why it matters what you believe.
I can't tell you the moment when I first believed in God. He has always been a part of me. I associate my childhood faith with my beloved grandmother, Philomena Plathe, a midwestern farm owner whose loyalty to God was seen in early morning breakfast rituals to fulfill communion requirements, lenten restrictions that were often the prime topic of family discussions, and extra trips into the small nearby town for required church activities. Her faith was a day-to-day picture of God for me, a definition of the Bible I never read. For most of my young life, she was the only example I had of God and His love. It was this foundation that led me to question the changes Vatican II made in Catholic Doctrine and to search for answers on my own.
There is a mysterious line between predestination and free will. In many ways, the Bible tells us God has a timeline for the existence of this planet and the people who inhabit it. How this is translated into the decisions we make each day is the most difficult question in all religions, including atheism. Are we puppets, or are we people who make our own decisions about God and everything else? Even in the lives of those chosen by God we see the ability to turn away from God's requests for their life.
Prophecy speaks to large matters of time and judgment. There are simple truths which Men have expressed with phrases like "Many are called, but few are chosen." [Matthew 22:14] I have not found a clear explanation of this concept, so I have personally translated it to mean: The gospel is preached to all. Every man has the opportunity to see that God exists and to decide whether to believe in Him. BUT there are certain people whom God births at just the right time to bring about just the right transition so that Biblical prophecy would be fulfilled. Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, and Jesus were obviously chosen to accomplish God's Will among men. The Antichrist is among the chosen as well.
God brought me into a family that displayed an affinity toward God. Now that my life has unfolded into the task of Working Together, I am inclined to believe I was born with this destiny in place. Knowing this, I can tell you there were many junctures in my past where I had both the ability and the freedom to cast God aside. In fact, I did. Momentarily. In doing so I discovered that sin could not embrace me. I had come to understand the goodness of God. It was the knowledge of God's love that led me back to Him, with greater and greater speed as time passed by.
We all have that ability -- the ability to leave God at any time. There are no chains holding Christians in their pews. It is our personal relationship with God that keeps us living within His unseen Temple. For those who will be called the remnant, there is no other choice.
You will have to walk with Him through your own mountains and valleys before you can gain the spiritual intimacy you see in other Christian hearts. Hopefully, you covet this intimacy for yourself. Christian testimonies, like this, will encourage you to keep going and remind you the journey is worth every moment it takes, every hardship encountered, every burden carried. There is absolutely NOTHING in this world that will ever compare to your personal relationship with an almighty, holy, and loving God.
If you believe finding the Truth of Christ leads to a life of material blessings and spiritual euphoria, these words cannot help you. God has a different plan for every person. What He does for one is not reproduced in every Christian. Nor is the abundance of God always visible with the eyes. Christian blessings do not reside in a bank account. They are not always things we can share. Our relationship with God through Christ is a deeply personal interaction.
Part of our contract is to accept the job description God has hired us to perform and be content with the salary that goes with it. Far from being a bad thing, God has an amazing way of leading each person to the place of their greatest happiness. All we have to do is be willing to go.
I could summarize my life in two words if I wanted to..."it happened." But this would not connect me to the souls God has raised me to meet, to know, to pray and care for. To find these people, I must share the details, good and bad. Unfortunately, when Christ is trying to love someone, it is often the bad details which matter more.
is the highest meaning in my life.
In the Trinity I see three distinct Beings, and I must say that my heart has always belonged more to God than to Christ. It doesn't mean I do not appreciate the incomparable sacrifice Christ made on my behalf, only that I love God more. It is God who created the universe and everything in it, God whom sin separates us from, and God that Christ brings us back into loving relationship with. The Bible offers several pictures of the separate natures of God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit as well as intimate connections between them. Whatever secrets heaven finally reveals, through prayer and the Holy Spirit, I commune with God and Christ as my heart leads me.
We know God uses each day to show us the way to walk with Him, but it is also His testing ground. Sometimes we honor God with our choices; sometimes we get swept away by the world. Satan knows our weak spots better than we do. That is why we must develop a clear understanding of the Holy Spirit and know His Voice when it speaks to us. He will help us to avoid the pitfalls of sin as we do the will of God for our lives.
In this life I have three wonderful sons. Each son with a purpose and a plan in God's Kingdom that is unique to them. Each one born with a different set of foundations in body, in circumstance, in mind. Yet all three display the amazing providence of heaven in the contents of their lives.
Each of my sons is the result of a different sexual relationship during times when I fell away from the happiness and holiness that God brings to our lives. Each pregnancy brought with it the very real cultural controversies surrounding unwed pregnancy, abortion, adoption, and single parenthood. In the times they were born in, the weight of social change was distinguishable.
took us into places I never knew existed.
They have changed my life.
Poverty was one of those destinations. Our financial woes and the trials that go with them became the pivot point of God's call to create Working Together. As my spiritual awareness increased, I realized that the church was headed for a much worse time than I had ever known. God showed me how vulnerable we will be in the End Times and led me to develop the framework for Working Together Inc. This occurred over the years from 1975 to 1987. Working Together Inc was born in the state of Oregon (USA) on June 5, 1987.
As all of this was happening, I began to write. At first it was only letters, lots of letters. Eventually I started to add my two cents to current controversies and create other literary forms like poems, commentaries, essays, and stories -- whatever God led me to write. When the lost of the world became critically important to me, I began to write about Biblical Truths. I started and destroyed several journals because I was in process and didn't like the idea that people could read my thoughts without my permission.
Over the years, God led me to and through many different kinds of social and charitable programs. I used these experiences to develop concepts for Working Together. It was important to incorporate our human needs, law, and known prophecy into the fabric of its operations. Working Together had to serve God first, Christians second, and everyone else as God provided. Looking to End Time survival when life seems relatively calm is a bit difficult. Every time I tried to raise money for the work, I couldn't get a response.
when HE was ready.
Priorities of the moment can restrict our choices and affect our long-term goals. If we are trusting God for everything, there is a necessary letting go of our desires, sometimes on a daily basis, to allow Him ownership of our place in His Plan -- for us and for the world at large. When God's work is our work, when we believe He is the God the Bible claims He is, we can then rest in a faith that says God is responsible to provide what we need when we need it.
In steadily increasing measures, as I prayed for each decision, I discovered God's directions led to expeiences that would apply to His goal for my life. I learned to hear God's voice in the midst of life's clutter and began to obey it more completely and successfully. The Bible doesn't say much about the childhood of Christ, but it does say He "learned" obedience through the things he suffered. [Hebrews 5:8]
We are always a continual wonder, a miracle in the making.
In God's economy, today's terror becomes tomorrow's tool.
He never wastes a thing we go through.
I didn't always understand these truths. When I was somewhere past 18 and before I was 21, I wanted to die. I tried to die. Now I thank God every day I wasn't successful at ending my life, and I often wonder how many others never discover all the magnificent joys God has in store for them because they cannot bear today's grief. Time heals so many hurts, but we have to allow ourselves to grow through it. Waiting is often the hardest thing we have to do.
Testimonies of Christians are meant to show the difference Christ has made in our lives. It is always hard for me to describe how much God means to me, and how the salvation of Christ has changed the contents of my life. I know I would never have survived what has happened to me if God were not my best friend. There were many times He was my only friend. As the Antichrist grows in power, Christians will face more difficult trials than we could ever imagine. We must prepare for them. The people we depend on today may not be there tomorrow, when we need them.
and to find the Truth we must live by.
I was born into a Catholic heritage. I didn't begin reading the Bible for myself until I was about thirteen. As I understood more of what the Bible said, I realized there were grave errors in Catholic doctrine. Vatican II was a blessing in disguise. At the time I wondered how the church that claimed to be the only representative of Christ on planet Earth could alter God's laws. Now I hope the Catholic leadership will destroy its traditions in order to save the souls of its followers.
Once we discover God's Truth, we can never go back. We can only go forward. When I realized that the Bible taught different realities than the doctrines I had learned to trust in, I could not continue in Catholic worship. I also did not pass through the doors of any other denomination until I was about twenty-five. When I did, the experience was so traumatic it was another bundle of years before I tried again.
Making this transition was difficult because my relationship with God was so important. Catholic theology states salvation is not possible outside the boundaries of the Catholic Church. This is a strong emotional and spiritual fetter, but it isn't Truth. Now I realize that exclusionary doctrine is a huge danger sign and several denominations claim this distinction. It is true there is only one Church, the Body of Christ, but the Bible does not define the Body of Christ (the Church) in denominational terms.
We cannot pretend it isn't.
To find a Biblical church,
you must first discover what the Bible teaches.
We do not get into heaven simply because we believe Jesus existed. The Bible states clearly defined parameters of Truth we must embrace. They have been established by God. We have to believe what GOD says is true, not what a church or pastor says is true. When these two perspectives do not agree, we must decide between them.
Being raised in one belief system and discovering it may not be true is a critical moment in any life. It takes time to absorb the differences. It takes a greater desire to serve God now than to serve history. It takes powerful faith to change.
Even the most basic ideological differences can cause immense conflicts in churches, in homes, in communities, and in nations. As we walk closer to the end of our communal earth existence, these differences will become more pronounced and cause intense havoc in our lives. It is better that we clearly define our spiritual beliefs now or we risk losing our place in heaven. Seek out the answers to your spiritual questions until your heart is satisfied with what you believe. It is the most important thing you will do in this life.
and it brings its own peace.
Is everyone in the Catholic Church lost? I will not claim that. I am not God. God knows who belongs to Him, who has been chosen since the beginning of time to be called out of darkness into His light. We see how God does this in the example of Paul's conversion from militant Jew into Christian patriarch.
Saul was a zealot long before he met Christ. He loved and served God with all the passion he had in him. He was acting on the Truth as he knew it. When Christ revealed to him that He was the Messiah, Saul changed. He became Paul, disciple of Christ, because he was led first by the Truth, not by the traditions of his religion. We must always be willing to do the same.
is the abundance of biblical interpretation.
With so many views of what is right and what is wrong in Biblical interpretation, we have to cut through the weeds to get to the grain. We simply cannot be sure we know the Truth of God if we accept just one doctrine without question. Even those who are taught proper Biblical foundations from childhood must find out for themselves that what they believe is, in fact, the Truth of God. We must personally own the beliefs we hold concerning spiritual matters. They are what will define our final judgment.
I would have died in the errors of the Catholic Church had I not begun to read the Bible for myself. We are commanded to "test the spirits" -- to search out the deepest meanings of every doctrinal thought to evaluate whether it matches the established Word of God. This is a personal responsibility, not a leadership task. I am willing to stand before God with what I believe. You must be too.
Human knowledge is a fluid substance. Every day we discover truths that have existed since the beginning but have been hidden from us until now. As God moves within this existence and molds the rest of my life, I will continue to grow and change. So will my testimony. When you remember these words, please keep that in mind. I'll do the same for you.
Original version: April 2004
Revised: December 2004
back to top
"I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE: NO MAN COMETH UNTO THE FATHER, BUT BY ME." John 14:6 KJV
We must first BELIEVE
in God and all that Jesus represents to have reason to repent, we must truly REPENT within our hearts in order to confess our sins, and we must earnestly CONFESS our sinful condition before we can CALL ON THE NAME of Christ to forgive and save us.
"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved..."
Romans 10:9-10 KJV
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
Romans 10:13 KJV
Why Should You Believe In Jesus Christ?
What's in it for you?
Jesus affects the heart, mind, and life. He brings an overwhelming uniqueness to your existence, an understanding that no one in all of history is equal to you or able to accomplish the specific tasks God has assigned to you alone. You are necessary.
Whatever color, race, or gender you may be, in Jesus you find destiny and purpose as well as peace, love, joy, purity, faith, mercy, truth, blessing, and justice.... Because of His sacrifice on the cross for each of your sins, you are able to claim eternal life in heaven. That's forever!
Believing in Jesus will not make your life trouble free or abundantly financed, but when everyone around you is faltering, faith will keep you standing strong and tall.
Looking for answers?
Try these links.
There are also several links to online Bible resources at the end of the column. Each one has its own way of presenting God's Word...and there are many more resources available online, at your local library, and in countless church libraries. Keep looking for your own answers until you know God's Peace.