Wednesday, January 27, 2021
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Walking from Darkness into the Light of Truth
On October 20, 1996 I gave my life over to Christ. That was the best decision I ever made.  From that point on I wasn't on my own, but I had the Lord of the Universe to help me on this journey we call life. Now that's not to say that life all of the sudden got easier, but having God in my life is no longer an option, but a necessity. 

Having a Godly perspective on worldly problems is nothing short of a miracle. When I sin, I can instantly go to God and ask for forgiveness, and He will give it to me because I believe in Him. 

    “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” 

    Ephesians 2:8-9 

Does that mean that I should keep sinning so he can keep forgiving me? No, otherwise I would not be a “New Creation in Christ”. When I gave my life over to Christ, I became a new creation in Him.

    “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 

    2 Corinthians 5:17

This means Christ is part of me, He is part of who I am as a child of God. Since Christ is incapable of sin, He cannot be a part of me when I partake in sinful actions or thoughts. Until I ask for forgiveness from God, Christ cannot live in me. It is those times when I am without Christ that I feel empty and alone, but all I have to do is sincerely ask for forgiveness, and He gladly becomes a part of my life again. Only then do I feel a sense of peace and serenity wash over me.

Just this morning I woke up with the knowledge that God loves me. That was the first thing that I thought of this morning. I felt so safe and secure in God's love, it was like He was right there hugging me. That is the kind of love that God has for us, and it is so strong that it transcends physical barriers.

However, it hasn't always been like that for me. I've been through some tough times in my life, when I really needed God, but I just didn't have the knowledge to ask for His help.

When I was younger, I went to church and knew that I was a 'Christian'. I believed in the Christian religion, but I never knew about the relationship I could have with Jesus Christ. 

I started school early at the age of 4, and the teacher said that I was mentally capable of continuing on, so I did. The problem was being a year younger than everybody else. Making friends proved difficult, and I had a tough time relating with the other kids in my grade. I spent a lot of time alone when I was younger, mostly playing basketball and working on computers.

Basketball was my main escape. It was something that I felt would get me somewhere in life and make me ‘somebody’. For 6 years between grade 7 and grade 12, I went into the gym every morning at 7:00am to practice. For an hour and a half before school started, I would do whatever it took to make myself a better basketball player. This gave me a false sense of self-esteem, and allowed me to vent frustrations that were caused by the lack of social interaction in other parts of my life.

Due to the intense practice schedule I became very good at basketball and many other sports. By the time I hit Grade 9, I had already been voted Athlete of the Year at my junior high school, and managed to win provincials (state championships) twice. I had also won two MVP trophies by then, and things were looking good.

As I entered high school, sports and my studies became my life. When I wasn't playing volleyball, basketball, badminton, track and field, or studying, I was working on the computer. It was about that same time that I started to reevaluate my life to figure out where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do.

I set some goals to be on a university basketball team, be an electrical engineer, and graduate high school with honors. 

As high school progressed, I forced myself to become more socially interactive. I decided that I couldn't be an introvert all of my life, so it was time to make myself known. Now, you have to understand that before this, I was scared to death to even walk through the school cafeteria because I really didn't feel comfortable talking to people. This was a massive adjustment in my life, but I knew that I had to make it.

High School GraduationTime went on, and I finally graduated from grade 12… with honors. Academically, I was in the top 5 from a class of 150 students. I had led the school basketball team to a City Championship as the MVP, and the regional city team to another provincial championship during the summer of 1993. In 1995, I was awarded Tournament MVP and the Best Defensive player trophy for our high school team, as we placed second in the City Championship my senior year. 

I also had a terrific girlfriend for the first time in my life, but after only 3 months I made some bad decisions and broke it off. She was Christian and so was I (by name only at that point), but I still didn't know what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus.

At this point in my life, everything was going 'perfect'. I was accepted into the Engineering Program at the University of Calgary, and I went and talked to the coach of the University Basketball team there, trying to fulfill another one of my goals.

Two months later, I was a freshman in University, the only walk-on to make the University Basketball Team, and taking engineering. If you have taken engineering, you know that there is not much time left over for any other activities in life. Somehow (I still don't know how to this very day) I found a way to squeeze 5 hours of basketball and training in every single day, yet still had time to study for 3 hours after I got home at 9pm. I would get 4-5 hours of sleep and do it all over again the next day.

This first year of university wore me down to the point of mental and physical exhaustion. Here I was, in an “esteemed position” that other people would literally kill for and I still wasn't happy! 

There was something… someone missing in my life.

I had made it to the top as far as I was concerned. I accomplished all of my goals and aspirations. I was playing on a university basketball team, and I was on my way to having an illustrious career as an Electrical Engineer, but I still wasn't satisfied.

One day, one of my friends from junior high school who was also on the University Basketball Team invited me to an Athletes in Action bible study. Since at that time I considered myself a 'Christian', I agreed to go. Athletes in Action is an international sports ministry that helps athletes get to know God, and use their platform to minister to others.

It was by going to Athletes in Action that I learned how to walk along the straight and narrow path. There were people like Catriona LeMay Doan (1998 and 2002 Olympic Gold Medal Speed Skater) that were a part of our group, so I thought that it was ‘cool’ to hang out with them. Little did I know how much of an impact it would really make in my life.

By the time I got back from Nationals in the summer of 1996 representing the province of Alberta in Basketball, I still knew that something was missing, but now I knew what that something was. I knew that Jesus was missing from my life, but I was not quite ready to devote my life to Him... yet.

Due to the pressures of Engineering, I was forced to quit university basketball and focus on my studies. I had a little bit of free time on my hands early in the morning, so I started going to the prayer meetings that AIA held every Wednesday morning at 7:00am. Now I was starting to get serious about a major life change, and I knew I would have to make some serious sacrifices.

I was never the type of person that went out drinking, and I didn't have to worry about sex outside of marriage because I simply didn't have time to pursue a girlfriend. I did still have sin in my life though, and I knew that I needed to give that sin over to God and confess it before I could move forward in my quest to find the one and only truth.

This brings us right back to my spiritual birthday. On October 20, 1996 I gave my life over to Christ. In a tear filled session at a front altar in Center Street Church, Calgary, Alberta, I asked God to come into my life. By asking for His forgiveness for my sins, I was able to start again. 

I was reborn, and became a new creation in Christ!
(2 Corinthians 5:17)

If this were a Hollywood movie, that's where this story would end happily ever after, but this is real life. Life didn't get any easier like I thought it would. In fact, it got harder. Now I had the challenge every single day to stay close to God, and perform through my actions what I knew to be true in my heart. It was time to turn my life around, with God's help.

Shortly thereafter, I started going to a prayer session Saturday mornings with another friend from AIA. He and I spent 5 weeks going through a series of bible studies to help me understand how I could improve my relationship with Jesus Christ. Even though I gave my life over to Him, I still had to refocus on Him every single day, or else I would begin to stray off track again.

These bible studies helped me to work on my personal issues from the inside out. One of the problems that I had (as well as any other male with any hormones whatsoever) was to lust after women. Especially at a university campus, there is plenty of scenery to view, and it is easy to let your mind slip away and start to think about another person in a lustful manner.

This was one problem that I had, but I managed to clear it up by asking for God’s forgiveness every time I even started to think along those lines. 

At first I was asking for forgiveness 150 to 200 times a day! Laugh if you want, but it's true! And remember, I was in engineering (with only 7% of the class consisting of women), imagine how many times I would have asked for forgiveness from God if I were in Education or Kinesiology (or worse yet - Nursing)!

Slowly but surely, that enormous number came down, and my relationship with God grew even stronger. As I learned to treat other women as children of God, just like I treat my sister (we get along very well), I learned to respect God's creation.

That is just one simple example, but those are the kinds of spiritual battles that I went through (and still go through) every single day. By the summer of 1997, I had a strong faith in Christ and our relationship was doing well. That summer on the Alberta Basketball Team as we prepared ourselves for the Canada Summer Games, I tried to instill those values I had learned into every person on the team. I shared the gospel with some of them, and some even listened. But the truth of the matter is, people will not come to Christ until they are good and ready. It is a personal decision only they can make.

I could not force my teammates into a relationship with God, nor did I want to. I merely wanted to plant some seeds so that they had the chance to hear the good word of Jesus Christ and possibly make a decision for Him later on in life. After finishing 4th at the Canada Summer Games, we came back home. Before I knew it I was back into Engineering and began to experience the stresses and rigors associated with that.

But through it all, I kept my eye on Christ. That is what got me through the school year, and that is what kept me so upbeat. People can see the difference that Christ makes in my life. I have been asked questions like, “Why are you always so happy all the time?”

Having Christ in your life makes a difference, 
and I'm living proof of that!

A perfect example was when I broke my neck in September, 1999. God literally saved my life, and I would encourage you to read this miraculous story.
A Piper Seneca that I flyAs of right now (December 2001) I am blessed to be finished my Electrical Engineering degree at the University of Calgary, and flight instructing in Florida. I have felt God leading me to become a professional pilot, and I want to follow that call. He has blessed me with so many physical and spiritual gifts, especially since the biking accident, I simply want to give back what is rightfully His to begin with.

Every day when I get up, I pray to God and rededicate my life to Him, to keep Him at the center. I have also started keeping a journal of the previous day's blessings, how God revealed Himself to me, and any other issues that I want to bring up with God. This has proven invaluable in strengthening my relationship with Him, and helping me to spread the good word to others through my faith.

Alright, now you know as much about me as my closest friends do. I pray that my personal testimony has helped you to understand that God is here, and He cares. Even if you have everything else in the world, you still won't be satisfied. I wasn't.

This was written straight from the heart with the intent that it could impact your life for eternity. Please take into consideration what I have said, and get to know God the father, God the son, Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit. I know that I am at peace and genuinely joyful with my life, and I pray that you can feel the same way.

There is a God shaped void inside of every one of us, which only He can fill. I challenge you today, let Him fill that void in your life! Giving your life over to Christ will be the best decision you ever made. You will finally experience peace and joy like you never have before when you enter into a relationship with Jesus. Life becomes much more meaningful, and you begin to look at situations, people and material objects with an eternal perspective.

I challenge you to seek wholeheartedly after God.
He will answer if you seek him with all your heart!

I pray this in the name of Christ. Amen. 

Ryan Roberts

Halozone Enterprises

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Wednesday, January 27, 2021