"[S]eek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33). This scripture has become very real to me. In the spring of 2001, I gave my life to Christ after hitting what I call, rock bottom. I was at a place in my life where I would stand in front of the mirror and see a stranger. I had begun doing and saying things that I never imagined of myself. I found myself making one mistake after another, thus adding guilt on top of guilt. I did not like myself, and many times contemplated suicide. Yes, me  a woman with two bachelors degrees, a masters degree, good credit, a loving family, and a promising career with the state of Ohio. I was suicidal. But God had placed two beautiful guardian angels in my life  my children  and I couldn't bear the thought of leaving them behind without a mother.

I hid my distress very well, thus neither friends nor family knew how emotionally unstable I was. Hidden beneath my smile and outgoing personality was a woman bound by depression, suffering from low self-esteem, and overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy. Though I had grown up in a Christian church all my life, I still had a misconception about what it meant to be saved. First, I thought that anyone who claimed Jesus Christ as his/her Lord and Savior led a very boring life. There appeared to be so many church rules and regulations it seemed like there were more don'ts than dos. By nature, I act silly and love to laugh, so I was scared of committing to Christianity because I thought my life would become even more miserable than it already was. Second, I didn't think I would have what it took to adopt Christianity as a lifestyle because Id seen others try and fail. Plus, my resume of sins seemed a lot worse than those who had successfully led Christian lifestyles. I thought surely they had not sinned to the extent that I had. I began attending church on a sporadic basis, but that was about the extent of it. 

Despite my inconsistent church attendance, God was still imparting powerful messages into my life and unfolding the truth about Himself. One Sunday a friend invited me to attend church with her and I found that I could no longer deny the need I had for Jesus in my life. I asked Him to forgive me of all my sins and to save me. Since that day, I have never looked back. Among other things, Ive learned two very important lessons:
1.) Being saved does not equate to living a miserable life at all. I have more joy now than I had before. Truth be told, I probably act sillier now, too. 2.) Anyone who's willing to submit to Gods Holy Spirit can be successful in living a Christian life! There is absolutely nothing in this world that God is unwilling to forgive us for. Knowing this has freed me from the guilt of my past sins. 

 

Many people have asked me how I began writing. For as long as I can remember I've always enjoyed writing poetry, but the idea for SOUL MATTERS wasn't laid on my heart until I started seeking God for my purpose in life. Initially, I rejected the idea of writing a novel. I knew I could write poetry, and even plays if need be, but I thought novels were out of my league. I had tried writing another story once, but later abandoned the idea after the first two chapters.  After several failed attempts to make SOUL MATTERS a play instead of a book, I finally submitted to Gods will and began writing this novel.

I thank God for all of the support I received from my husband, and several close friends and family members along the way. Even though I had loads of encouragement, the key to my being able to successfully complete SOUL MATTERS was having a pure heart. I wasn't seeking fame or fortune. My deepest desire was to write a realistic, entertaining story that shared a message about God with others. When I started writing, I had absolutely no idea how it would get published. I didn't even know there was a market for Christian fiction. Still, I stepped out on faith and invested time and money into a story that kept pressing on my heart. Once I did, I saw God open doors of opportunities that I never imagined.

 

Whether you're a Christian or non-Christian, SOUL MATTERS was written with you in mind. I hope you enjoy and are blessed by the content found within its pages. Thank you for allowing me a chance to deposit something positive into your lives. May God continually bless you!

What does it mean to make Jesus my Lord and Savior (i.e., to be saved)?

It means that you are willing to admit and confess your sins (1 John 1:9); you recognize that God's forgiveness of your sins is a necessary component of your eternal well-being (John 3:16-17); and you are willing to make whatever adjustments necessary in your life to follow the teachings outlined in the Bible (Galatians 5:16).

I'm already a good person, and I believe in God. Do I still need to be saved?

First of all, congratulations for being a morally right individual. We're living in a world where it seems like there are only a few people who aren't willing to lie, cheat, or steal to get ahead in life. However, Isaiah 64:6 tells us that our righteousness (i.e. our own standard of goodness) is like filthy rags to God. Though you may go to great lengths to be an upstanding citizen, the truth of the matter is found in Romans 3:23 "[A]ll have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Every human being needs Jesus in his/her life because without Him, we have no fellowship with God (John 14:6), even if we believe He exists.

I would like to be saved, but won't my life be dull and boring then?

You are encouraged to read Yolonda's testimony.  ln John 10:10, Jesus says that He came so we may have life and have it more abundantly. When you have an abundance of something, you have an overflow. Thus, Jesus desires for us is to live life to the fullest. Though it is possible to have "good time" without being saved, in order to really get out of our lives all that He wants for us, we need Him. "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." (3 John 1:2)

I'm ready to ask Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. How do I do it?

Though there are some who have come up with very elaborate alternative answers to this question, the truth can only be found in the scriptures. ". . .[I]f you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9-10; NIV) "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) Below, is a prayer written to assist you in your desire to be saved. Say this prayer out loud and mean it with all of your heart, and God promises that you will be saved.

 

"Dear God,

I confess that I am a sinner. I come to You in the name of Jesus asking for forgiveness of my sins. I believe in my heart that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, was raised from the dead and is the only Lord and savior of the world. Right now, I ask Jesus to come into my heart and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that I am saved. I believe that my past is forgiven. I believe that I am a new creation in Christ Jesus. Thank You, Lord, for saving me."

I've repented of my sins and have asked Jesus to come into my life. What next?

Congratulations! The Bible says that the angels in Heaven rejoice when a person is saved (Luke 15:10). Now that you've made the commitment, surround yourself with other bible-living Christians. You can do this by joining a local bible-teaching church or hooking up with other Christians at your job or in your community. Don't be intimidated about praying or feel self-conscious if your prayers are not as eloquent as someone else's may be. Pray from your heart and rest assured that God will hear your prayers. One of the most important things you can do is begin reading the Bible daily. Don't know where to start? Don't worry, you can begin this process by reading daily devotions from places like Our Daily Bread. If you have a smart phone, you can also check out the You Version Bible app. Reading and knowing the Word for yourself is crucial for your relationship to grow with God. It's also important so that you are not deceived by those who are teaching and living contrary to His word.

 

If you've just accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, we would love for you to share your good news with all the members of Yo Productions! May God continuously bless you!

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Some things you may be wondering . . .