Sunday, November 1, 2009

Grandpa Jones went to be with the Lord yesterday at 6 p.m. It seems like every time there was a gathering of the family, Grandpa always shared with us his testimony. His children and grandchildren should know it well! I found a copy of his testimony that he wrote in his Bread upon the Waters publication. It was in the very first volume 1, number 1. Here is the story in his own words, of how our dear Grandpa Jones came to know His Lord.

A Sailor Rescued from Perishing by Ray M. Jones

The time was 1944 and the place was the Great Lakes Naval Training Station. There in that camp of sailors making ready to enter into the battles of the South Pacific was a young man who knew little that was before him. The largest body of water he had any experience with to that day was his uneventful swim across the Rio Grande river and back as a child. It was not much wider than a country road and never above his head! Now there lay before him the prospect of the wide ocean with ships being sunk by Japanese submarines daily. Fifty percent of the men who had just taken Guadalcanal were lost in battle. I could hardly swim the distance of a swimming pool and hand to hand combat with Jujitsu trained soldiers proved a very frightening perspective.
My friend’s name was Bill Short and he took a genuine interest in my welfare at the time. He had given me a few verses of scripture to memorize and patiently day after day he would inquire as to my progress. It took about a month to memorize my first verse, John 5:24. Others might have given up, but not Bill as he patiently awaited the rousing of my interest. We frequently would play basketball together and I’ll have to admit that he consistently carried the leading edge in athletic ability. Occasionally we would attend a Bible class together where as a general rule I found little of interest that I can remember.
It was on October 15, 1944 that we went to the gym to play basketball. Following the game there would be a message from the Bible. As I sat listening to the preacher that night and he was telling us of the war that we would soon be entering, I began to wonder if I would ever make it home again. He tenderly spoke and asked us if we were to find a water grave in that great South Pacific, where would our souls go and where would we spend eternity? If our blood were shed upon the sands of a South Pacific Island shoreline, would our standing with a Holy and Righteous God be acceptable? Up until this time my answer would have been that I did not know. It was at that point that the preacher began to expound Romans 6:23. The wages of sin is death. Never before had I faced the sin question with such earnestness and a fear began to well up within my soul. An anguish filled my thoughts as I remembered one sin after another. Conviction brought tears to my eyes as I began to realize that I was lost for time and all eternity. Even if I lived through this war and on until I was 99 years of age, the wages of sin would only bring me condemnation and separate me forever from God.
Thank God that the preacher did not stop the sermon at that point. I would have returned to my barracks with a heart full of sorrow and remorse. Then he told us the rest of the verse, “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” It was like a bright light to a darkened soul. My heart calloused in sin and careless with concern now found in the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who could save me from perishing. He died on the cross for my sins and forgiveness was mind for the asking. He was buried and carried away my sins forever. He has risen and justifies me now in the presence of a Holy and Righteous God. I received HimHis to do with as He pleased and in life or death I would praise Him. God was gracious to me and I soon learned that God really did answer prayer. I was spared the conflicts of the war battles and given a little time to grow in the Lord in the tropical islands of the Pacific. In due season I returned home and now after over forty years have passed I can truly say, It’s Sweeter As The Days Go By. If you have not been saved, may I have the privilege of joining with others to give you the invitation: The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. And the spirit and the bride say “Come,” and let him that heareth say, “Come” and let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely. (Rev. 22:17) The decision is yours to make and now is the time. Your soul is the most precious possession you will ever have and the fool will lose it when he dies without Christ. Receive Him now as your Saviour that night as my Lord and Saviour. I was so happy as I went back to the barracks that night. The peace that passeth understanding was in my soul. My Saviour was with me and what did I have to fear! The navy became a delight; the food even began to taste better (perhaps because I quit smoking); I went to the South Pacific with absolutely no fear and at times so full of joy that I could hardly contain myself. God had saved my soul and I was .