In 1976, at the age of 12, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I was Baptized and became a member of a Southern Baptist church where everyone in my family were members. Mine was NOT a "false conversion" or any such junk as that (would God deny salvation to an innocent 12 year-old child)! I was truly saved, I felt the Holy Spirit not only come over me, but come inside of me! I knew the incredible love of God!
My family and I lived in a rural area (15 miles from the closest town) and over a mile from the nearest neighbor. So, temptations were not readily available for a 12 year-old country kid at that time. That meant that I remained faithful to the Lord and the Spirit remained in me.
When I turned 15 I began cruising the town with my friends on Friday and Saturday nights. At that time everyone from miles around cruised the town on the weekends. I noticed that all of the kids I went to church with on Sunday were drinking heavily on Friday and Saturday nights. I felt this was terribly hypocritical and a bad witness for Christians. However, eventually I gave into peer pressure and had my first drink of alcohol when I was 15.
My love affair with alcohol began with that first six-pack of beer. I thought, "This is the way people are supposed to feel." I started my alcoholic career just drinking on Friday and Saturday nights because I fell for the devil's lie that alcoholics drink everyday, or they drank before 5:00 pm, and that they were poor bums living on the street.
Eventually I attended a well known, private, liberal-arts college in the south. There were wealthy kids there from all over the world at that school. Up until this point I had never tried any drugs, but anything one wanted could be found on that campus. I started out smoking marijuana with my roommate. Again the devil worked on me by polluting my mind. After I smoked the first joint the devil said to me, "That was great wasn't it. Your parent and elders have all been lying to you about how bad marijuana is for all of these years. I wonder what other drugs they have lied about?" The devil is a cunning enemy!
False Prophets In Sheep's Clothing
It wasn't long before I was not only drinking heavily everyday, but I was also smoking one pound of pot EVERY month! If those two poisons weren't bad enough I was also doing cocaine, tranquilizers, pain killers, acid, mushrooms and any other mood-altering substance I could get my hands on.
I TURNED from God during that decade; I was my own God. I was selfish and didn't care about anyone other than myself. I was a fornicator, a liar, a blasphemer, et al. Needless to say I was a miserably, unhappy, empty person without God inside of me. However, I was once saved and had a personal, loving relationship with God. Even though I was living in sin I knew that God was THE ONLY WAY. So, trying to reach God I still prayed almost everyday. I always asked for God's forgiveness, I asked for his protection and guidance.
God loved me and protected during this time when I didn't deserve His love! He was constantly trying to get through to me to make a tough decision to turn away from this lifestyle and turn back to God. For just as I had WILLFULLY TURNED FROM GOD, I ALSO HAD TO WILLFULLY TURN FROM THIS SINFUL LIFE AND REPENT TO AGAIN OBTAIN SALVATION. This was common sence to me, I knew this at that time. I KNOW beyond the shadow of a doubt that if I had died during that time there's no way I would have been allowed into Heaven. (... It wouldn't be Heaven, we would turn it into Hell!)
The amazing thing is that even though I was a filthy sinner God still loved me and protected me! How amazing is our God! I had three horrible, high-speed accidents at this time that I should not have survived. God was trying to reach me not only through miracles, but interventions and the Holy Spirit too.
To make a long story short, I eventually did choose to get out of this sinful lifestyle and found my way back into God's grace. Only by the grace of God have I been clean and sober for 18 years (there's another miracle that a drunk and drug addict like me has been sober for 18 years)! The Lord has blessed me with several great businesses, a wonderful, understanding wife, three great children and other worldly possessions that I don't deserve. However, the greatest gift given to me and any Christian is my salvation through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I may cherish my salvation more than the ordinary Christian because I once lost it due to my own selfish will and desire!
Our Heavenly Father is LOVE. That's why He created us, so He could have a relationship with us. Yet, relationships can not be forced on anyone, they must be chosen! So, God gave us FREE WILL so we could choose whether we want to have a relationship with Him or not. If we want a relationship with God we will strive daily to honor Him by following His commandments and teachings. If we want to be selfish and be our own God the Heavenly Father will also allow us to do that, but we must be prepared to pay the consequences for our choices. The consequence is SPIRITUAL DEATH!
... Maybe these words will find their way to someone that is facing a physical or spiritual battle .... I exist to serve the Lord!
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Separating The Sheep and Goats
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