The Holy Bible, the Word of God, Guides Me

In January of 1949, not long after the Second World War, I was born in Holland.  My father was a Roman Catholic, but my mother had no religious preference though she had attended a Evangelical Sunday school in her younger years.  Mother’s father was an atheist, and her mother was possibly a Methodist.  Before my mother married my father, she was required to become a Roman Catholic.  So, she studied the doctrines of the faith and was baptized as a member into the Roman Catholic Church.  However, mother never embraced the religion; she attended church, but her heart was not in it.

Shortly after I was born, my parents saw to it that I was baptized.  Baptism, according to the Roman Catholic Church, means that one is cleansed from original sin and becomes a member of the Church.  From then on, until I was into my teens, my parents took me to church with them.  At age seven, I received the Sacrament of the Eucharist, and at the age of ten, I received the Sacrament of Confirmation.

I believed in the miraculous appearances of the Roman Catholic Mary, the Mother of God, and prayed to the Lady of Fatima.  I studied the history of the Roman Catholic Church and the lives of the saints.  I was fascinated with the mysticism of the saints who were canonized within the church.  I read many stories about them.  Moreover, I wanted to be as holy as they were.

Trying to Please God

In those years, I believed God’s love for me was on a conditional basis and that I could never be good enough or holy enough to please Him.  Therefore, I went to confession regularly and eagerly practiced the indulgences to pay for my sins.  I received communion quite often to become, or at least feel, more sanctified.  I prayed the rosary to Mary, and I prayed to the saints.  I made indulgences for the souls of the dead who may be in purgatory so that God would have mercy on them and bring them into heaven.

I zealously practiced Catholicism for many years; a priest married my fiancé and me.  Later, we saw to it that our children were baptized into the Church.  I belonged to the Legion of Mary, the Catholic Women’s League, and taught Catechism.  We attended church as a family until my husband quit going.  After that, our children attended church with me.

On the Road Toward True Liberty

In the winter of 1973, some dear Christian ladies invited me to a Bible study.  I went out of sheer boredom from being cooped up with my two babies in the house.  It was in the middle of a long winter when my husband was out working in the oil fields for sixteen to twenty hours a day.  These ladies offered babysitting for the children, and the coffee pot was always on.

I felt love from these women, and I started reading the Bible with them and while at home.  I was more than excited at the wonderful things I was learning.  I had only known the Bible as a storybook up until then.  I was told that the Bible is a true and living Word.  Furthermore, I was told that biblical prophecies have come true and about the “hope” of seeing Christ one day soon.  This study went on for some time; I was seeing discrepancies with what the Roman Catholic Church taught.  However, we moved away and I continued in the Catholic Church with my children.  I became involved with the Charismatic Movement with meetings held in the Catholic Church’s basement.  I continued to search because I was not satisfied with what I was hearing from the priests and the bishop at this ChurchThe Mass became a boring ritual. But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.[1]

Since I loved reading, I frequented the public library with my children.  I was searching in the religion section of the library and came across the book called, “The Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom.  The following is copied from Corrie ten Boom’s history site.  Her story had me riveted to the end, and it spoke to my heart.  Here is an excerpt from her book about her life during the war.

Casper and his daughters, Corrie and Betsie, risked their lives.  This non-violent resistance against the Nazi-oppressors was the Ten Booms’ way of living out their Christian faith.  This faith led them to hide Jews, students who refused to cooperate with the Nazis, and members of the Dutch underground resistance movement.  During 1943 and into 1944, there were usually 6-7 people illegally living in this home: 4 Jews and 2 or 3 members of the Dutch underground.  Corrie and Betsie spent 10 months in three different prisons, the last was the infamous Ravensbruck Concentration Camp located near Germany.

Her sister, Betsie, died in camp, but Corrie was released because of a clerical mistake.  All the time Corrie was in the prison, she witnessed for Jesus Christ to the guards, and she was a support to the fellow prisoners.  Corrie was a woman who was faithful to God.  I have read about her work since she immigrated to the United States shortly after the war.  She died on her 91st birthday, April 15, 1983.

I continued to read the Bible, pray, and search for answers.  It was not until the year 1979 that God opened the eyes of my heart to accept the truth in His Word.  In 1949, I was born of flesh and blood from my mother’s womb, and in 1979, I was born of the Spirit and became a child of God, as the following bible texts teach such,

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”[2] “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”[3]“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.”[4]

True Liberty Arrives!

I finally had to admit there were stark differences between what the Roman Catholic Church taught in the Baltimore Catechism and the Council of Trent, from the truth taught in the Bible.  I could not believe that I was so enmeshed in such heresy as taught in the Roman Catholic Church.  I was overcome with sorrow for not having worshipped God in spirit and in truth.  I prayed to God, repented of my sins, and trusted in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  I finally realized that baptism, or membership in a church, is not the way of salvation.  It is only through Jesus Christ we are saved and only through His drawing influence we even come to Him and His Word.

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”[5]  “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”[6]

The accounts in the Bible were no longer just stories, they were true, and they became alive and made sense to me.  The Word became relevant to my everyday life, and God spoke to my heart.  I could not put the Bible down as I hungered for the truth written between the two covers of the Holy Bible.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”[7]

I felt God’s overwhelming love for those around me and I knew that my sins had been fully forgiven.  I finally understood why God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die such a brutal death on the Cross—for me.  You see, God demands justice, purity, and holiness, and there was no way that I could measure up to His standards, no matter how hard I worked at it or how many indulgences I paid.  God offered Jesus, His only Son, the pure and holy sacrifice, in my stead.  By His death on the cross, Jesus took my place to pay the penalty for my sin, once and for all.  By His Holy Spirit and grace, I put off my old selfish spirit and put on the new Spirit in Christ.

Today, though I am still a sinful human being, I can stand before God as though without sin because Jesus Christ redeemed and justified me through His shed blood on the Cross.  He took all my sin on Himself; He took what I deserved.  God sent me His Holy Spirit to indwell, to direct, and to empower me, as the following bible texts explain,

“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”[8]  “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.”[9]  “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, ‘If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.’”[10]

As Charles Spurgeon said, “Real conversion by the Holy Spirit is as distinct and radical a change as though an old man were placed in a mill and ground young again.”

In the year 1982, I finally left the Roman Catholic Church for good.  It had been a terrible struggle for me; I was so indoctrinated by Roman Catholicism.  Today, through His Word, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, motivates me to serve God in love and in truth.  I am not motivated by fear of guilt or punishment.  As I stay close to Jesus Christ and abide in Him, I am able to live a life pleasing to the Father.  God is not finished with me yet, for I am still a sinful being!  The difference is I am forgiven, and I am His child forever.  Instead of going to a Catholic priest, I can now go directly to Jesus, my Redeemer, my Mediator, and my only Advocate to God the Father, for the forgiveness of my sins as the following bible texts explain,

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.  And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:[11] If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.[12]

True Liberty is Forever!

The moment I was born from above, I received the gift of eternal life through God’s Son, Jesus.  I am now a child of the King—forever.  I now know there is a better place waiting for me.  And, I am now assured that I will see Jesus in heaven, whether it is when the body of Christ meets Him in the air[13] or when I die and go to the grave and my soul will rise up to be with Him.[14]  What a blessed day that will be!

I attend a small group Bible study and the Word of God is alive to me.  I found it very important to fellowship with other believers that are part of the body of Christ as we are commanded to do in the Bible.  It is good to attend a Bible believing church where the pastor preaches repentance and interprets the Bible by using other verses of the Bible. God was so gracious to give me the opportunity to witness the gospel to my parents.   My mother later embraced Christ as her Savior and my father and I had great conversations.  I had the privilege to be with them when they were dying, mom in 1991, and dad in 1994.  I had a chance to pray with each of them at the end of their lives.  God be praised!

As being a part of the body of Christ, we can be a godly support to our fellow believers while in return they can spur us on to good works in Christ.  In God’s power and grace, I witness the gospel to those in my circle of influence and pray that God will open the understanding of their hearts.  I love to study and meditate daily on God’s Word and try to take time to pray and praise Him throughout the day.  To the glory of God, my life is full as wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and hospice worker, as the following bible texts explain,

“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”[15]  “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”[16]

Johanna Alexander

[1] Deuteronomy 4:29

[2] John 1:12-13

[3] John 3:36 

[4] 1John 5:13

[5] John 12:32

[6] John 6:44

[7] Hebrews 4:12

[8] Roman 5:5 

[9] John 16:13 

[10] John 8:31

[11] 1 John 2:1 

[12] 1 John 1:8-10 

[13] 1 Thessalonians 4:17 “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

[14] 2 Corinthians 5:8 “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. “

[15] Hebrews 10:16, 17

[16] Galatians 5:1