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One More Chance

Having been rescued three times, Jim knew he could not presume upon God forever.

Thank God for salvation that can take a man out of sin and place his feet on the solid Rock, Christ Jesus! I grew up in a semi-Christian home. My mother prayed for her children, but Dad was not a ...

Thank God for salvation that can take a man out of sin and place his feet on the solid Rock, Christ Jesus!

I grew up in a semi-Christian home. My mother prayed for her children, but Dad was not a believer. While still young, I decided to lead a life like his. I traveled down the pathway of sin, picking up all the bad habits and appetites the world has to offer.

Rheumatic fever struck me when I was a lad. The doctor told me I would not be healthy like other boys. He said, “When you go up the stairs, you will take them slowly—not run up them.” I promised God my life if He would heal me, and He did! But I broke my promise.

Doctors tried everything they knew to do, but they could not bring me back to consciousness. Then the people at my mother’s church prayed for me.

God never let me forget what I had vowed. Year later, when I was in drunken stupors, He would remind me that I had promised to serve Him. One night while under the influence of liquor, I was in an automobile accident. I was taken to the Marine Hospital in Seattle, Washington, and doctors tried everything they knew to do, but they could not bring me back to consciousness.

Then the people at my mother’s church prayed for me. When consciousness returned, she told me Jesus would take care of me. I said to myself, “She does not know the promises I have made to the Lord and not kept.” Once more I promised God that if He would just get me out of the hospital, I would serve Him. Again, God did His part, but I did not do mine.

Later, I was working with my dad and he took sick. Mother called the ministers of her church to come pray for him. Dad prayed too, and God saved him. He came out to the job site and told me, “The Lord will do the same for you if you meet the same conditions.” I thought, That is all right for you, Dad; you’re old. But I want to live my life in my own way.

I quit working with Dad and got a job in the woods, driving a log truck. One day a truck loaded with logs got away from me. It rolled over two and a half times into a canyon. God was dealing with me again. When the truck hit the bottom and quit rolling, I was afraid to move, fearful it might roll some more. With my head on the seat, I cried, “O God!” And it was not a swear word, either! Again, God spared my life. I climbed out of that wreck with only a few scratches on my cheek. Still, I was not ready to give up my life of sin.

Over a year later, coming into the little town of Chehalis, Washington, I stopped alongside the road to look at a wrecked car. A woman in the back seat was calling out for someone to help her. I wondered why she did not ask Jesus to help her. A dead man was under the steering wheel, his body all torn up. Right then it seemed God spoke out of Heaven to me and said, “You are going to be next.” I knew I was heading the wrong way and I did not want to die in the condition I was in.

The prayers of my parents and their Christian friends were being answered. I told myself, “I’ll go to church Sunday,” but I didn’t. Oh, what conviction settled on me that night! I couldn’t sleep. Finally, I phoned my parents, and they told me to come to their home. They called the minister, and at an old davenport, I knelt to pray.

“I don’t know how to pray,” I said. My dad responded, “Ask Jesus to be merciful to you a sinner.” That is what I did, and the Lord did not turn me away.

Tears flowed from my eyes, though I hadn’t shed a tear for years. My dad was sitting there in a wheelchair. “I don’t know how to pray,” I said. My dad responded, “Ask Jesus to be merciful to you a sinner.” That is what I did, and the Lord did not turn me away. He saved me that night and delivered me from drinking and from the cigarette habit—things I could not stop in my own power. He changed my filthy tongue. Thank God, He made me a new creature, and gave me the old-time religion!

These days my trust is in the Lord. I want to walk in His will. When I pick up one foot and put it down again, I want it to be in the center of His will, not to the right or left. God has done so much for me. He will take care of me the rest of my life.

by Jim Gilmon

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