I had put most of these words together in a response to my uncle and I wish to share this testimony with anyone reading these words:
I believe the treatment of life should be a spiritual program. Actually, I believe the treatment of life "is" a spiritual program. The more years I live, the more real God becomes to me. I think this comes from my acceptance of who God says that He is and the unlocking and answering of so many questions by His Word and also the nearness of my destiny with my mortality. One name cannot describe God. The bible even has 16 different names for God. See the link to see them all.
Some life altering events of my life follow and putting this on this site has helped me to remember my history and where I am going.
Background: My real relationship (the power and realness cannot be accurately described) began with God when I was 12 years old and wanted to trust God and got baptized. Initially this was fulfilling until other denominations of religion were made known to me. Then confusion settled in on the issue of baptism. When I was about 13 years old I had been told by some Baptist that I had to ask God into my heart for salvation. Still being a child it was very easy for me to find quiet time and pray to God and ask him to come into my heart. When I did pray and ask, I felt His presence with me. I felt very comforted during this quiet time with God.
Departure from God: Well, just like the Bible story of the prodigal son I got older and wanted to do the things that I wanted to do. I drank a lot between the years of 16 and 23. When I was 19 I also got involved with smoking a lot of pot and I influenced many of my friends to smoke as well. I was doing a few other drugs with alcohol and hanging around people who used needles a lot. I remember sitting in my apartment and having out of body experiences from excessively smoking pot and thinking thoughts against God when this happened. This actually scared me as I could not think of putting myself against God, even though my life style clearly did this.
Prodigal Son Returns: While living in an apartment, a few months before my 23rd birthday I got very ill with a very high temperature. I was not on drugs while I was sick, but I was hallucinating from a fever. I watched my curtains open and close with no one touching them. So the logical part of my mind told me that I might die (or maybe God was telling me that he might take me). Anyway I was convicted of my past with drugs and in prayer, I begged God to not let me die with the history that I had and to please help me.
Obviously I got better cause I'm still here. :-) I was almost 23 years old and totally accustom to having a joint for breakfast, lunch, and a party bong pipe for supper with a few beers and some barbiturates during the weekdays. On the weekends we would party! I had been living that way for about 3 years. Anyone that knew me at that time, knew that I had drugs or could get drugs. So after praying and begging God (again he comforted me) to spare me and help me do the things that He would want me to do, I was surprised two weeks later. I noticed that I had not had the urge to smoke pot! You must understand that 2 weeks was a looooong time for me to go without getting high. I stopped, thanked God and asked for more direction and help. Strangely I began to either listen for the first time or else was presented with more opportunities to hear or maybe both. But I began seeking God's direction. I have continued to do this, but I admit I don't walk well and I easily fall down sometimes. But as far as smoking pot, I am happy to say that God psychologically removed that desire from me and I have never had the urge nor have I gotten involved with pot or any other illegal drugs since.
Watchful Caring Prompting God: A few years after this occurred I visited a friend of mine that I had partied with years before. He was living with his older brother and family in their home. We were sitting in his living room along with his older brother and friends. My old friend and I were just talking away, catching up with each other and rehashing old times when I had this very strong urge to leave the house. I thought to myself "where do I need to go or why do I need to leave?" and I had no answer. My friend kept talking and the urge got stronger. I sat up on the edge of my chair halfway trying to figure out what was going on with me, as I was halfway preparing to hit the door. During this whole time I was unaware that my friends older brother was preparing to light up a joint as my back was turned to him. So this urgency to leave became stronger and stronger and then I smelled the odor of pot and at that moment, I knew what the urgency had been and I knew I had to leave immediately and I did.
At age 23 I asked my wife to marry me for about the 3rd time. She had definitely noticed a change in my behavior and accepted my 3rd proposal. Prior to my changing she had thought that she would probably need to marry someone else. We both were aware of God's direction unfolding in our lives just prior to my proposal through several personal events. We've been married now since 1978. God has been carrying the both of us through the good and the bad.
Loving God: I forget the year, but about the age of 23 or 24 I went to visit my Dad in the hospital. His back was really messed up. The doctors had been checking him out and felt he had a degenerating spine. They were waiting on the results to confirm this and my Mom was going to give my Dad a sponge bath, so I went to the waiting room. Well knowing Jesus as my Savior puts a burden on my heart to share the gospel, so that others can benefit as I have. Well, I was sitting in the waiting room waiting for my Mom to clean up my Dad and I can't help but over hear this conversation between a grandpa and grandson (I believe). From the conversation the older gentleman had already had several operations and would probably not be able to take another. So I thought that this guy could die at any minute realistically and I wanted to share my God with him so that he would not have to live the rest of this life without Him and that the old gentleman would have Him to look forward to being with. Well I'm an introvert so I desperately sought a segway into their conversation and finally said something like "well all one can do is trust in the Lord". Well the old gentleman's eyes became more sober and clear. He confirmed my statement with an agreement. Of course, I still had no idea if he had accepted Jesus. As he was dismissing his grandson, he asked if I could accompany him back to his room. I thought sure, I'm still waiting on Mom and perhaps God wants me to talk with this man. So I found out that this gentleman was familiar with the Bible and claimed to know Jesus. We got to talking and praising God for stuff like His love, mercy, kindness, and grace. Well I kept feeling like someone had walked in the room. So I turned around and no one was there. We kept talking and I was enjoying talking about the greatness of God. But I kept turning around looking over both sides of my shoulders. You how it feels when someone physically gets near you? I kept feeling this way. Then the older gentleman said that he could feel the presence of the Lord and began praying out loud and I think I prayed for this man to get better. I mentioned that I felt something and the older guy reminded me of scripture that says something like - where two or more are gathered together in My Name, there I am also. Well this presence became stronger to the point that the whole room appeared saturated with a thickness of presence and I wanted to go share this with my parents. I bade the gentleman goodbye and walked out the door. I thought that the presence was wonderfully strange and fully expected at least half of it or maybe all of it to stay in the room when I left. When I stepped out the door though, it was just as strong. Well needless to say I was talking to God in my thoughts and thanking Him for sharing Himself with me this way. It was almost like a dream. I could not wait to tell my parents about this wonderful event in my life. I made it to my dad's hospital room and walked in. A couple of my parents friends were there visiting. I could not hear what they were talking about but I just knew that they had to feel the presence of God in the room that came in with me. As I had gotten closer to the room my heart rate was very high. I was very happy and wanted to share with my parents. As I walked in the room, a visitor (long time friend of Mom and Dads) noticed tears were coming down my cheeks and said something like "Don't worry , your Dad is gonna be fine". Well you could have told me the worst news in the world at that point and I would not have cared. A 357 pistol at my head would not have kept me from feeling happy because the tears were tears of utter joy. So after the visitor's statement, I thought that I would explain since they somehow were missing the presence of God in the room. So I started to speak but my mouth would not move. I could not even hum or moan. I then realized how ignorant I was. Here I was having God's presence come to me and dwell within me and I thought that I was still in control. Small wisdom allowed me to pray to God in my mind and ask him to let me share with these people what is going on with me. Of course I begged him in my thoughts to not leave me completely, just enough for me to tell them about my experience. I don't know if you are familiar with hydraulics, but what I felt next was similar to fluid leaving a container (my feeble attempt to explain). This presence that totally encapsulated me began leaving me, starting at the top of my head until it got down to the bottom of my throat. At this point, I was able to speak and began trying to explain about being with the old gentleman in the hospital room and how the presence of God was with me. A few minutes later His presence left me and I felt weak and exhausted. I have never had this strong of a feeling of His presence since that one time. That has been close to 30 years ago.
God has a Plan: I don't subscribe to religion based on experiences or seeking certain experiences. I feel God will do what He will do. I feel I don't need to be looking for a sign. For many years, it seems all I did was look for a sign. These days I am very comforted just knowing God has a plan. These days I pray for God to give me the ability to love Him more and to be more obedient to Him. I am reminded of the Biblical account of Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers and suffered many years in prison before being in control of Egypt. His brothers feared his wrath, but he forgave them. He told them what they had meant for bad to him, God had meant for good. He had accepted all of the bad because he knew God had a plan.
Reviewing these events in my life has helped me to see where I come from and where I'm going. These are just events and background of my life that may give someone an idea on my perspective of life.
It is my sincere prayer that whoever reads these words has a personal relationship with Almighty God that can only be experienced through the acceptance of the free gift of salvation provided by the sacrifice of God Himself through Jesus.
If you don't know Jesus, what do you have to lose by taking the step of faith by accepting His free gift?
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
You can voluntarily bend a knee to Him now and accept the gift of life everlasting, or you can wait until the judgment where you will quickly bend a knee and confess Him as God. Only if you wait until the judgment, your decision to "not" be associated with God will be honored for eternity.
In your own personal space right now you can pray this prayer and seal your future for eternity, if you have the smallest grain of faith in God:
If you have sincerely prayed this prayer in faith of Jesus as Lord, you have begun an earthly journey leading to everlasting life with God. For some it will be a long earthly journey, for others a very short earthly journey, but either of these earthly journeys are very short when compared to eternity.
If you have not prayed this prayer and do not know Jesus, it is my prayer that you would continue to have every opportunity to turn to God before your time expires.
If you are a believer, seek the company of other believers as stated in Hebrews 10:25. Trust in our Creator who hung the stars and built our world, and go find a Bible believing church to regularly attend. Beware of churches that claim to be Christian, but are not. A true Christian church will guide you with the essential Christian doctrine found in the Bible.