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BY JORGE C. CERBO
I came from a very poor farmer's family and was able to finish my elementary education as a houseboy, my secondary education as a helper in the convent of the Maryknol Fathers in Tagum, Davao, my college degree (BSC- Major in Accouting) as a messenger/clerk of Notre Dame of Marbel College, South Cotabato, Philippines and finally my masteral degree (MBA) as a FAPE Scholar.
Having suffered so much in my life since I was young, I was determined to succeed and did the best I can humanly do. Perhaps, I was born a leader for nothing hindered me from going to the top. I finished my BSC Degree being a Cum Laude graduate and it only took me 6 months as an Insurance Agent to be promoted as an Insurance Supervisor. But my head swelled with pride and to prove that I am reallly a leader, I drunk more wine than anyone I know, travelled the farthest distance on a motorcycle than anyone I know, have more women than anyone of all the agents under me and lasted the longest hours of working without eating any solid food while drinking too much wine.
So I ended having an accute ulcer until I bomitted blood and became so weak that I could hardly stand up after losing so much blood. I was financially drained and have to borrow money from among my friends for my food and medicine. After six months, when I really needed to resume my job, I was surprised to find out that I can no longer be accepted because of my health condition. This made me angry against my supperiors and caused me to curse them and this instilled into my heart the hatred against the world. I have to become rich and powerful in order to get back at people like my former superiors and influenced by that movie entitled "The Godfather", I was determined to follow the footstep of a Mafia Don.
After I got another job, I again started climbing up from being an Accounting clerk, to become Secretary of the General Manager, then to become the Accountant, then to become the Chief Accountant and Assistant Manager and at the same time a Part-time College Instructor. So I started buying hand grenades, guns and ammunitions while my drinking habit resumed. I learned Karate & Judo secretly and become a violent and cruel man. No one stood against me despite of my cruelty so I got used to it that even my wife and children were not spared.
Life with me is like living in hell for my wife that one time, to avoid the worst that can happen, she went out of the house emotionally and spiritually broken. She walked on the streets with tears in her eyes, not knowing where to go and not knowing what to do. She just found herself standing at the wharf, facing the deep waters. She thought of ending her life by jumping into the water but Praise God for His love that is beyond understand. He flashed the pictures of our little children in her eyes and led her to ask "who will love my chldren?, Who will take care of their needs? To whom shall they run and cling when their drunk father arrives like a growling lion? With these questions in mind, she went back home and spend the night with tears still streaming from her eyes.
When I was about to launch my evil extortion, robbery and kidnaping plan, God intervened and I was transferred to Basilan, an Island where hundreds and hundreds of soldiers, rebels and civillians have died because of civil strife. Like Jonah who was bomitted by a big fish on the shore, we landed into a Christian neighbor in the Island, who hosted a Bible Study in their house. Although we made a lot of alibis to avoid attending their sessions, they never gave up and one time I can't find anymore alibis. So what will I lose if I attend once. But Praise God! My time is down and God's time is up. Within one hour, I learned how God loves sinners like me. I never thought before that God loves me. What I know is that He is angry with me and wants me to burn in Hell. But it was the reverse. So I went home amazed and continued attending the subsequent sessions until I was invited into an Evangelical Church. The reception was so warm and we really felt at home!
The message was made by God for me and my wife. I can see the Glory of God in the face of the Pastor as he gave the message of God. He read Romans 3:10 and 3:23. Okay, I agree, I am a sinner and have plenty of it. Then he read Romans 6:23 and saw him looking at me with flaming eyes and his finger pointed at me. So I must die because of my sins. But what a relief to know that there was a gift being given to me. Eternal life through Jesus whom I know was crucified but did not know that it was for him to die so that I may live. Then the Pastor read Revelations 3:20 and explained that at that very moment, Jesus is knocking on the door of my heart, my life. And He is just waiting to be invited in. When the invitation for those who want to receive the gift by accepting Jesus in their heart was made, I was the first one to stand up and headed to the front. I prayed the sinners prayer with tears in my eyes because of repentance, and accepted Jesus in my heart as my Lord and Saviour. I believed the assurances that I now have the right to become a son of God (John 1:12), the assurance that I will no longer be condemned and that I have now in me the gift of eternal life (Rom. 6:23b). When I turned my back I found my wife behind me, still wiping away the tears in here eyes. Oh, Glory to the Lamb, Praise Jesus, we were born at the same time!!! My dear readers, so many like me is roaming around the world today. They, too, needs Jesus. Please reach out for them. They needed you as I needed that kind of neighbor I had before. I will appreciate receiving E-mails from you, and watch for the Part II of my testimony.
On the other hand, if you found yourself to be like me before and have not yet received Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour, you can do it now. Just say "Father, I am a sinner and now truly repented for all of my sins. In the name of Jesus, please forgive me. Jesus, I know you loved me and do not want me to burn in hell. I know you are knocking at the door of my heart. I now open the door and I am inviting you to come in. You are offering a gift for me which I now accept. That gift which you have paid on the cross. The gift of eternal life. Be my personal Lord and Saviour. Take over my life from now on. Thank you Father in heaven. Thank you Lord Jesus. I believe in your words. I believe that I am now forgiven, I became a son of God, I have now eternal life, I am saved, I am BORN AGAIN!!!".
Hallelujah brother or sister, I rejoice with you!! How I wish to hug you. Just imagine that thousands of angels are rejoicing in heaven at this very moment because one more soul is saved from condemnation!!