By Jim Day
Blessings to all!
I am so excited to share a new God Dot in my life. Not that it is about me, but rather, it is all about our wonderful God.
First, a little update. We love it here in Hazelton. But, the manse (or parsonage) needed a lot of work. To save the church as much money as we could, we have done most of the work ourselves with the help of some new friends. That has included new electrical wiring, new plumbing, new heat pump and furnace, fresh paint, new bathrooms, etc. The church needed some love as well. A new roof was installed just before we got here and now we have new siding also.
COVID-19 has put a serious damper on everything and everyone and has made daily tasks a little more difficult. But through it all, God is good!
Time can slip away in our busyness – and we have been busy. To the point that we weren’t sure if I should continue writing this column. So, we prayed and asked the Lord for encouragement and for more stories of His wonderful grace to share with you. I have hundreds of God Dots in my life, but never wanted this column to be about me. In the two years I’ve been writing this, there have been only two people who have contacted me to share their stories. One of them never got finished because we were all busy with other things, and then we moved.
That caused more than a little discouragement and the enemy seemed to be shouting at me. Things like, “You are not a professional writer. Nobody wants to read this. Nobody wants to share. It’s not doing any good for anybody. You don’t have time for this. Just quit, already!”
It gets to me. I wish I could say that it doesn’t, but it really does. I wish he would just shut up and leave me alone. So, we pray!
Just the other day, I got an email from a fellow named Rick Deighton. He simply said, “I enjoy reading your God Dots column.” And he asked where Hazelton was.
It was like a drink of cool water after a day of labor in the sun. I was overjoyed that somebody was actually reading my little part in this wonderful publication. I started to reply to his email with everything that I just told you and to tell him that his email was an answer to prayer, but when I read the things that I had written, it felt like I was whining and sniveling. So I held the backspace button on the keyboard to delete what I had written. But, somehow, the email got sent.
What followed was a few more emails and loads of encouragement and a phone conversation that felt like a blessing from heaven. Rick sent me his testimony and it is filled with God Dots. This column is just the highlights, but the really exciting part is that Rick Deighton is my most recent God Dot.
God loves us. Period. And He longs for us to reach out to Him. He answers prayer and guides us and delivers us. He will use people to answer prayer at times, and those people should be recognized as God Dots, because that is exactly what they are. My thanks goes out to Rick, but my praise goes out to God, who made the connection.
Here is the edited version of Rick’s testimony…
I was born in Longmont, Colorado, on November 8, 1943, and lived there with my parents through my young, formative years – until after graduation from Longmont High in the spring of 1961.
My dad, Herbert, was a hard-working carpenter/contractor, and my mom, Mildred, was a hard-working stay-at-home mom. They, along with my three older siblings, Elinor, Don, and Mary Alice, had weathered the rough, lean Depression years, so they formed a coalition to train me in the meaning of hard work and frugality.
By the time I was 10 or 11 years old, I declared myself to be an atheist by saying, “I don’t believe in God – I’ve never seen Him!” It would have been so easy for me to remain and become hardened in this rejection of God and the Bible because I wanted to be “a real man.”
My distorted view of masculinity probably stemmed from the fact that many of the men in my family were unbelievers and skeptical about the Bible.
In retrospect, I realize that my motives for declaring my unbelief were really emotional, not intellectual. The problem wasn’t and isn’t that God has not left clear evidence of Himself and His Word. The major problem was that I knew I was a sinner, and I didn’t want to repent. If I admitted the reality of God and the truth of His Word, then I would need to face my sin problem and change. Instead, I denied His existence.
Jesus had already accurately described the situation when He said, “…men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” – John 3:19 (NKJV).
In January of 1956, my dad’s left arm was ripped completely out of the socket in a horrible tractor accident. He was working far from town and lost so much blood before arriving at the hospital that the doctors thought they were working on a corpse!
Even though I had denied God’s existence, down inside my heart I knew He was there, so I prayed earnestly that God would save Dad’s life and felt a deep confidence that He was there and had heard me. Dad’s recovery amazed the medical staff.
When he released Dad from the hospital, Dad’s doctor told Mom: “Mrs. Deighton, I have no explanation for your husband’s recovery!” How could he? There is no medical explanation. The main artery from his heart to his left arm was ripped open – totally open. Scientifically, that would mean death in a few minutes. So what explanation is there? God did it! God chose to spare his life even before I prayed.
God answers prayer. He demonstrated Himself to me and drew me to Himself. On April 22, 1956, I came forward at church and committed my life to Jesus. Although my conversion was dramatic and genuine, Satan tricked me into gradually slipping into compromises during my high school years through peer pressure. I was still faithfully attending church services and youth meetings but running with the wrong crowd on Friday and Saturday evenings.
However, in the midst of the temptations and the compromises with the worldly crowd, the Holy Spirit was convicting me and calling me into His service. I learned the hard way that trying to live on the fence is not a comfortable place to be because I did not fit in with either group. I wasn’t bad enough to be a star with the worldly crowd, and I wasn’t committed enough to our Lord Jesus to fit in with those sold out to following Jesus in their lifestyles.
On one occasion, our pastor, Talmage Pace, responded, “Don’t ever put yourselves in a place where you would be ashamed to be found when Jesus returns!”
I could not shake that thought from my mind.
Also, he preached Jesus’ message to the back-slidden, lukewarm church in Laodicea: “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” – Revelation 3:14-16 (NLT)
I could not shake that thought either because the Holy Spirit burned it into my conscience. I knew I did not want Him to spit me out!
On a crisp, clear, winter evening in the middle of my senior year, the Holy Spirit drove home the conviction in my heart. It was a Friday evening after a ball game, and I was at the TAC club (Teenage Canteen). The rock music was blaring and as I looked around me, I asked myself, “Is this where I want to be when Jesus comes back? Are these the thoughts I want to be thinking?”
I walked out in the cold night air, went to the street, and stood quietly contemplating my life and my Creator in full view of the star-studded majesty of His creation above me and around me.
One half block behind me was the TAC club, and not one of my so-called “friends” even noticed that I left. A block to my right was our church building. These two buildings symbolized to me the choice that I needed to make. I knew I could no longer keep running with the crowd and still keep calling myself a Christian.
I did not tell the filthy stories, but I kept laughing at theirs. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” I wanted to see God at work in my life.
That night I re-committed my life to our Lord Jesus Christ. I decided that He meant more to me than all my so-called “friends” and “fun,” along with the folly that went with them.
I thought, “I’ve been ashamed of Jesus, and for no reason. But He has plenty of reason to be ashamed of me.” I decided to start sharing Jesus with my “friends.” A few responded – most rejected and avoided me. The guy I had thought was my best friend wanted nothing more to do with me.
A friend who listened was Ron Smith.
One day when we were duck hunting, I had haltingly shared what I could about my trust in Jesus. Ron listened and contemplated. During the spring evangelistic meeting at our church, during the invitation song, Ron stepped out in the aisle to go commit his life to Jesus – and his little wife, Judy, came running down that aisle after him.
Wow! I thought my heart was going to leap out of my body. That was the greatest experience in my young life. Emotionally, it was greater than coming to Christ myself. I was hooked on witnessing for Jesus and that is an addiction I have no inclination to break.
The evangelist for that 1961 spring revival was Kenneth Beckman, president of Boise Bible College. His messages were heart-stirring and greatly impressed me with both fervency and scholarship. What was God calling me to do with my life? I was scheduled to graduate from high school in a few weeks and had not made plans for the direction of my life. One evening as I was leaving the meeting, Talmage Pace asked me where I was going to go to Bible college. I replied, “I don’t know!” But the idea stuck.
I enrolled for the fall semester at Boise Bible College. I was one of those kids who came to Boise Bible College for a year to get a better biblical foundation for my life, but within two months I knew that growing in the knowledge of God and sharing Jesus is my life.
And, the church which sponsored BBC was the place where God had Della Lu Qualey waiting for me. He arranged for me to meet her the first Sunday evening of the semester, and that same church was the location for our wedding less than 1½ years later, with Kenneth Beckman officiating. June 14, 2020 was our 57½-year anniversary – and we keep on keeping on growing in love with each other.
(God has used Rick and Della to spread the good news of Jesus Christ all over the world, but especially in Switzerland, Germany, through Alpine Christian Mission in the early years, and in Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine, and Russia through Overseas Outreach. There is so much more to share, but not enough space, so I will let Rick close.)
At the date of this writing, July 2, 2020, I am now 76 years old – and as far as I know, still in good health. However, Della Lu, the love of my life, has multiple health issues. She is my first ministry and I may need to curb my international travels to be nearby when she needs me.
This is my responsibility, yes definitely – but it is also my privilege!
She has faithfully stood by me and with me all of these years, and without her I would be “up a creek without a paddle” (as my friend, Dave Tinney, told me years ago).
My joy for our Overseas Outreach mission is that we see our awesome God assembling an amazing team of co-workers to carry on the mission of Overseas Outreach. I look forward to continue being powered by prayer, propelled by passion, and protected by providence!
Thanks for reading and may the Lord richly bless you!
If you would like to share your testimony, contact Jim Day at firstname.lastname@example.org.