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Norman Merritt

Norman Merritt

Hi,

My name is Norman Merritt, and this is my testimony of how the Lord Jesus Christ plucked me from the fire of hell. 

My life, was controlled by the need to have the world’s desires. However, in his unending Grace, Jesus saw me as a smoldering stick, which would have ended up being thrown in the flames, if it were not for the sacrifice, Jesus did at the cross.


Question

What is the Gospel? 

Answer:

Jesus Christ died and rose again. That’s it. Simple.


My first recollection of there being a God was when my mother sent me to Sunday school from the age of eight.

I had to walk passed a large playing field on the way to catch the bus; other children use to shout out names like Moses and Jesus creep at my sister, and I walked past. It was not nice.

When I was 13, I joined the boy’s brigade with most of the children who call me names (It was like a church youth club). Once more, in my life; there was church and more of God. However, to me, the boy’s brigade was more about football and summer camps, and the odd girl.

At the age of 15, I left school, left the Boys brigade and left church.

I obtained an engineering apprenticeship.

Five years later, at the age of twenty, I joined the British army.


On my second Christmas as a soldier, one of my friends, who just happened to be a Northern lad, asked me what Cambridge was like at Christmas time.

I remember saying it was all right, but not great.

He then asked if I would like to spend some of the holiday up in Leeds where he lived.


This for me was a life-changing yes or no moment. 


My whole life ever since has been lived on a simple yes answer.

I answered yes to go to Leeds and met Carol my wife.

Carol and I got married on the 29th of May 1971. We are still together.

We both started to attend a church in London, and life was good.


In 1973, Carol gave birth to a boy who was still born.

In 1976, we had a girl who lived for six weeks.


At that time, one thing burnt into my memory. It felt like we were being haunted from above and below with equal amounts of pain. I can still recall them now. The constant feed of advertisements on the television about baby nappies, baby prams, baby pushchairs, baby clothes. To us it seemed endless. We were not left alone even be left alone to grieve, Carol found it harder than me. She could not go out for almost two years.


We were five years into our marriage, and we had buried two of our own children.


Where was God? Where was the church? 

Nobody came to see us from the church we attended in London. 

There were no comforting words from the minister. No encouraging words of reassurance that there was a God. The church had gone silent.

At the time, we had a dog-called Sheba. I would walk her out after midnight, when Carol was asleep. Then it would start. Me shouting and argue with God.

I wanted answers. I needed to know why these things could happen to church believing people. I needed a closure, be it with or without God. 

However, the midnight walk with the dog was just me screaming and shouting at God. There was only one person in the argument. Just like the Church, God was given me the silent treatment.

Carol and I left the church in London never to go back. 

Twelve years I ran with the world, and the world treated us as one of their own.

Living in Cambridge, and having Addenbrooke’s as our local hospital, after extensive test we found out the reason why we had lost two children. 

Carol was blood group B res negative. I was blood group A positive. 

The problem was Carol stopped feeding the baby at seven months. The delivery was by caesarean and both babies were two months premature.

It made no difference to me when in 1979, we had a boy and in 1983, we had a girl. By that time, I had lost all belief in God, and everything the Church would throw at us. 

I knew what the bible said. 

God gives, and God takes away. 

However, that rang hollow in my ears, as the fields of hatred and bitterness were growing side by side in my heart, watered by the lies of this world.


12 years later a local community church put a leaflet through our door advertising what they called holiday special. It was a fun time with Jesus.

We sent our son!

Unbeknown to me the idea was to bring your parents along on the following Sunday to show them what your children had learnt. 

I remember it was raining the particular Sunday morning, but I had promised I would go.

The church met at the local primary school, and my son ran in seeking out his newfound friends. However, I could not go in to that school building. Something powerful was stopping me. 

My son was in there, and I was outside. I paced up and down around the school playground, not knowing what to do. I did not have the sense to get out of the rain.

I finally went in near the end of the meeting and stood just inside the doorway. The Grace and Mercy of God overwhelmed me. I had tears in my eyes. The field in my heart, where my hatred and anger were growing side by side was began to be harvested by the power of Grace, Mercy, and the love of Jesus.  

My untrusted thoughts could see faith in the congregation as they sang their final hymn.

It is a witness and testament to the Grace, Mercy and Compassion and love of the Lord Jesus I am witnessing to you now. 

Finally; on that, rain swept morning, I once again saw a flicker of hope in people again.

We all have to make choices in life sometimes they are life changing 

My life changing choice was saying yes to Leeds. 

If you are one of those people, who think you are all right just because you are luke warm, neither for nor against the Christ and you are doing your best to be a good person by just sitting on the fence.

Let me shatter your dreams. There is no sitting on the fence, and how do I know that, because there is not a fence to sit on.


“You’re either for me or against me,” Jesus said. It’s either yes or no, there is no in between. No sitting on the fence.


Unbeknown to me Jesus had planted a seed in my heart that started something back in my Sunday school days.

The Bible tells me what Jesus starts he finished.


Do not let the Devil put an obstacle in your heart. Do not get swept along on the wide path because it is all about what the world has to offer, Bible says this is just for the moment. It will all melt away like heated wax.


Ask the Holy Spirit to capture any evil thought you have that are blocking your way. Ask the Holy Spirit to send them to the dry place, and never to return to you. Do you know what the will of Father God is for you?

In John 6 v 29.


Jesus answered; the work of God is this. To believe the one he has sent. 


The creator of the universe is just asking you to believe in the one he sent. What is so hard about believing that?

The book of revelation warns us about being Luke warm, and there are many verses in the Bible about people who do not believe.


Let me give you a stupid analogy… gravity


If you wake up one morning and decided, you no longer believed in gravity. Do you think because you do not believe, and you throw a brick up in the air, it would stay there because you do not believe in gravity anymore? 

We all know the answer. 

That is the same with the kingdom of God, just because you do not believe, does not mean it will go away and not affect you.

Some of the saddest verses in the Bible, can be found in Luke 16v19-32.

It is the account of Lazarus and the rich man. It tells you about the facts when you die. There is no coming back.  The rich man knew there was a hell, because he was in there. He wanted his brother’s saved from it but at no time did he ever ask for repentance. He is the sole evangelist; I know that witnessed about the son of God, Jesus Christ only son in hell, but he would not repent himself.

Do not believe the lies of the world.

There is no slumber sleep, no soul sleep. There is no, never to wake up again sleep. 

We do not all go to the same place' as some would have us believe.


Let me tell you why there are three reasons you need Jesus.

PAST… sin.   

Jesus also has a past; he created the universe.


PRESENT. 

You still have a choice. Jesus is here now in the present, and he wants you to come to the Father.

In this world, there will be people who go to bed tonight and will not wake up in the morning.

Now if you die in Christ, you will be with Christ constantly. If you die without Christ, you will be alone and without him forever.


FUTURE.

You have a future… Jesus has a future.

Jesus has all power over everything.  That includes the future judgment. 

Father God has set in motion something that nothing or nobody can stop. 

His only son Jesus Christ is once again going to set foot on this earth, and he has in his hand the keys to life and death. You have a life changing choice to make. It needs to be made while you are in the present. While you are breathing and have the ability to make your own choice. You cannot make the choice when you are dead. 

Yes, you are for him. No, you are against him. 

Either you sow with him. Alternatively, you scatter the people from his kingdom.


Summarise and remember.

What is the gospel? Jesus Christ died and rose again.

There is no fence to sit on.

Why we all need Jesus? 

Because we have a past, we are in the present, and there is a future.

To live without Jesus is to die without him.

To die without him is separation for all eternity.

It will take your mouth to confess your sins and accept God's word of salvation.

It will take your mind to say thank you for God for dying for me before I was even born.

It takes action to do God's work.

I am convinced everybody reading this at some time in their lives know or has heard of Jesus.


One Last question.  

How many people do you know that have given their lives to him and made Jesus their friend and personal saviour?

If the Holy Spirit has stirred up your conscience now and you would like to know Jesus. 

You can do it right here and now. It will be your first step on an incredible journey.


You can say them silently or aloud. It makes no different. Just as long as you mean what you are saying in your heart. 


LORD JESUS

I WANT TO KNOW YOU PERSONALLY.

I AM SORRY FOR DOING THINGS MY WAY. 

INSTEAD OF YOURS

THANK YOU FOR DYING UPON THE CROSS

AND FORGIVING ME OF MY SINS

PLEASE COME AND TAKE FIRST PLACE IN MY LIFE.

AND MAKE ME THE PERSON YOU WANT ME TO BE.


If you cannot say this now, come back to it, read it repeatedly if you have to. If there is a mountain in the way or you have had a bad experience. Ask Jesus to go on before you and level the problem, or problems flat. 

Then and only then, when you are completely sure go to a quiet place and say it aloud, and believe it.

Then go and tell somebody.


If you would like someone to mentor you and guide you please feel free to get in contact with my church.


Thank you Jesus.