Everyone has a story to tell, and this is mine.
It is not the story of my whole life.
‘Not the story of my employments.
‘Not even the story of my struggles.
It is the only story that really matters – the story of my path toward eternity.
I was raised Roman Catholic. We went to Mass every Sunday.
I was young, but I can remember pre-Vatican II days when the Mass was in Latin and the Priest had his back to the people.
After First Communion, Catechism and then Confirmation, I discovered that the Homilies had been repeating every three years.
I lost interest and really didn’t know what I believed. With some argument, I was allowed to stop going with the rest of the family.
I got into trouble some while growing up, but nothing really serious.
I used to believe in God (that He existed – I thought that was all that was necessary) when I was a child, but afterward, I was not so sure.
Besides, it was easier to just not think about such things, so I called myself an agnostic – I just didn’t KNOW.
I grew up in a suburb of NY City, but we moved and so I ended up in a very small town in North Carolina. It didn’t have a stop light – it had a blinker.
The only thing for a high-schooler to do at night, was play the pinball machine at the Laundromat.
I hated that town at the time and it was filled with Baptists who resented Yankees in their town.
They all seemed to enjoy labeling themselves as Christian, but showed little evidence.
I even hated the preaching cadence of southern preachers – which irritated me much as that of auctioneers.
When I was 23, I started to date one girl steadily and I soon lost my virginity. This relationship continued for about a year and I was quite happy.
Even though I never discussed that sort of thing with my parents, they knew this was going on and I never was made to feel guilty.
One evening afterward, I heard a voice. It was not an audible voice. Still, it was in my ear (exterior & over my shoulder).
I knew there was no sound, but the voice was clear. I wanted to turn and look over my shoulder and I may have done so.
The voice said, “you’re sinning.” That was it. There was no condemnation in the tone, although I detected some disappointment.
It seemed to be more of a matter of fact announcement.
I quickly dismissed the incident, but the next time, it happened again. The same two words: “you’re sinning.” This sort of spooked me.
It happened the next time also. I just didn’t know what to think. I just discovered this new pleasure and now this was happening!!!
(Now, in retrospect – this voice was not “out of the blue”. I had prayed the sinner’s prayer years before while watching the 700 Club late one night, but in the morning, I forgot all about it.)
What really shook me - was when the voice stopped.
I thought about it for a few days and when I next had some time alone with my girlfriend,
I told her about this experience and that I had decided that we should refrain from “making love”.
She agreed to that and we continued to date for about a year and a half.
OK – a few times I got weak and gave in to lust. ‘But generally – we stopped.
A few months after breaking up with her, I happened to be watching Jimmy Swaggart on a Sunday morning – as our all of but 2 and sometimes 3 channels offered little else.
I wasn’t paying attention to him much, since he was a southern preacher, but I started thinking about God and my relationship to Him. …if He even existed at all.
If He was real, then I was not who He would have me to be. It occurred to me (or so I thought – it was really God telling me something)
that I could not discern a perfect God, by looking at imperfect people. I had to put aside my contempt for preachers and the like and really determine if God was real. In the back of my mind – I knew that if He was not real, I would sooner or later figure that out. If He WAS real, I needed to get on His good side.
I never dismissed Jesus as being a real person and I understood the basic message of the gospel, so when the sinner’s prayer came around again, I prayed.
A soon as I was finished praying, I instantly KNEW that He was real and that He loved me.
I can barely explain it, but I was somehow brand new with a brand new future full of hope.
Jesus had washed me clean and given me a new life – one with joy.
I could hardly keep a grin off my face for about a week.
One of the first things I did was laugh at myself, because my worst unspoken fear had come to pass – I was a Christian.
That was back in the summer of ’82.
A short time later, Satan began to taunt me with fear of fading zeal. …That I might get burned out as I can do – and fall away.
That I would not be able to endure unto the end – should I be called to martyrdom.
These thoughts tormented me for awhile, until I prayed to God for some peace: that He would bring me back to Him, should I fall away.
Again – I had an instant peace about it and never worried about it again. I knew it was not a license to sin, but that He was able to keep me, when it really mattered.
Since that time I’ve my ups and downs, my share of backsliding, and my renewals. Though it all, God IS faithful.
I watched my Mother develop a REAL relationship with Jesus. And learned that after a year of praying, my Brother had come to the Lord.
Even my Father seemed to grasp the gospel (salvation though faith in Christ - not attending Mass and being good), before he passed.
About a year ago YHWH began bringing me back again.
He’s opened my eyes to much of the paganism which has infiltrated the church – like:
observances which really mark pagan holidays and even the day most Christians go to church.
I would have been the first to dismiss such views as narrow minded, legalistic and downright foolish.
Perhaps the narrow gate is even more narrow than we all thought.
Perhaps most of the churches in (Jesus’ epistles or letters) in the book of Revelation really did NOT get a passing grade.
Perhaps I’d better pay more attention to phases like “those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus”.
He’s opened my eyes to the significance of His Sabbath and to the Feasts.
Yes, I keep the 7th day, although I belong to no denomination.
I don’t keep it by the letter but by the Spirit. Simply to please God and honor His original wishes –
rather than keeping a day which has been established by the doctrines of men.
No, I do not really “keep” the Feasts, since that was part of the “Law”, but I am aware of them and their significance to God’s plan.
The Sabbath has been a real blessing to me, as it allowed me to focus totally on the Lord and put aside the world if only for a day.
I know this all seems a step backward to many of you, but as when I started this journey, I’ve decided to pay more attention to God and what He wants,
rather than the traditions and assumptions of man – as the modern idea of a pre-trib rapture. (It’s at the last trump, the 7th trump.)
We have some tough times now and some tougher times ahead.
I don’t know what is in store for me personally, but I know that God is faithful. Whether we have many years or only a few,
I desire to make the most of my time and follow the admonishment of Jesus to do the will of the Father.
Sure, this hasn’t been some deliverance testimony, but it is my testimony which
I hold and I testify:
Thank you for reading my story. I pray that it has helped you in your own path, or at least given you some insight into mine.
- That God is indeed real and that Jesus is also real.
- That Yeshua is the only way to the Father and that - by His blood we are free of the law of sin and death.
- By His Spirit we are raised into newness of life and the hope of life eternal.
- That we MUST remain in Him and He in us, so that we can bear the fruit of the Spirit:
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Righteousness, and Faith.
- That we must endure to the end. Even unto martyrdom if it be His will.
- That we must bear witness to all of this, so that others might not have to perish.
I continue to grow every day, and make steadfast my love for the One who loved me first.