Is it OK to share some very personal details about my walk with you? All of the following happened to me, and is true.
I came from a violent home, (drugs, alcohol, gun shots, being chased with knives, people thrown through picture pane windows), in fact I was born three months early because my father kicked my mother in the stomach.
I was born weighing two pounds nine ounces. As early as 7yrs old, I was out on the streets till 3-4am, I was put in three orphanages... One night I remember, my father snuck into our house, he put a loaded pistol in my hand and told me to shoot my sisters and my mother, it was crazy.
Through all of this, (which I wouldn't change), I came out a fairly normal kid, I was involved in sports and didn't do drugs, or drink. I thought I was a survivor, wanting only to make it through another day.
In 1974, I started to sense a need in my life, an emptiness that I couldn't explain. I knew I had to find God/Jesus, but who was HE. I had no idea where to find HIM, so I went to the local library to find books concerning world religions, God, and the occult. At the library, I met an ex-hippie (Gary Osborn) he saw my books and decided to share the message with me.
Gary invited me to pray in the back of his V.W. so I did, I remember saying "God forgive me for my sins, and whatever you have for me I want it all". At first nothing happened I expected, lightening or something. Gary said, "Just go home and praise God" I said, "What's that, mean" Gary said, "Just thank him" So I did just that.
Before I asked Jesus into my heart, I never heard voices, I never drank, and I never did drugs, but one week after meeting Jesus while in the middle of my last class (during high school) A voice, just as clear, as someone standing next to you, spoke, and as the voice spoke it said to me, "rod tell them about Jesus" I was surprised, but unafraid, I put my hand over my mouth, since I didn't want anyone to think I was talking too myself, I said (to whoever spoke to me) "I don't know what to say" the voice said "don't be afraid, I'll give you the words to say" To this day I don't remember my words, but I spoke to those kids about Jesus and salvation, their mouths just dropped open and then, class was over, I walked out of that room, feeling like I had never felt before.
The next day was Saturday; I slept in the living room on an old couch. When I woke it was early and I decided to turn on the TV, to watch my favorite cartoon, the roadrunner.
As I sat there watching the TV, I got up and looked outside, everything was so beautiful, (I never appreciated nature, I just wanted to make it thru another day). BUT now it was so pretty, I sat back down on the couch, and as I did, I was somewhere else.
I was sitting at a long roughhewn table. In front of me was God, the father. I couldn't see him, to my left was Satan, him I could see (he looked like a man only very big) then to my right was Jesus.
Three bowls appear, filled with what looked like porridge.
Now the father spoke and said Satan dismiss yourself, Satan stood and screamed, then vanished. Three bites were taken out of the bowl. Then all at once I was watching myself from a distance, walking with Jesus up a grassy pathway. Jesus was speaking to me but from a distance I couldn't hear him, I could see myself shaking my head (like I understand) then thru my eyes I saw the house where I had been sleeping.
I didn't know what had happened; I'd never experienced anything like that, before, I KNEW GOD loved me and wanted something from me...my total surrender.
I needed to get a bible. So, I went to a bookstore and I got the largest family bible I'd ever seen, with pictures and everything. I was so happy. Then for the first time, I heard the living / spoken word.
That night the voice of the lord said, "Read Matthew 5." I had to look in the contents; I didn't know where Matthew was. When I found it and started to read, the words became a ("Word of the Lord to me") they just jumped off the page, they seemed to come alive, and they filled me, with hope, love and peace. Now I knew God loved me, and my sins were gone, I was forgiven...
As time passed, I grew, sometimes I'd walk into a busy office or building (like a D.O.L) and the Lord would say go sit by that guy. I would strike up a conversation, then say "you don't know me but I'm a Christian and God is going to share with me about your life" I don't mean simple things like "you have the flu" or "Headaches", but deep, personal things that others couldn't know or even guess.
People would usually start to cry and ask "how did you know?" I'd say "I didn't but God knew".
This has been a short summary of my life.
Now many years later, what happened to me?
Great failure, habitual sin, followed by abundant mercy, grace, and a life of LIVING Hebrews Ch 4 (Rest)
Maybe your sin is different, but at the root it is the same. At one time I was in your place, a captive to sin, daily sin for 30+ years, multiple times a day. Lust, masturbation, etc.
I felt so bad, so guilty, how could I do this to God. Nothing brought relief. I confessed to friends, family, pastors. I wrote letters to Christian leaders, including Pat Robertson, I even fasted for 30 days. Nothing brought me freedom. Every day I failed. Then one day I had an idea. I knew this Christian lady from Russia. I had seen her pray and get instant answers (this is a gift given only to some).
So, I go to her and ask her if she will fast and pray with me for one week, that I might be closer to God, to receive some kind of brokenness. Then about 2, maybe 3 weeks later, without me connecting the dots, not even remembering the fasting and prayers, my life literally feel apart.
Car accidents, losing a 20-year job, lose friends, relationships with kids and family fall apart too. But my job... That was the killer, without it, I can't support my family, I would fail them. I couldn't bear it.
I was so crushed. I decided I had had enough; I would end this now. I'm done. I grab my shotgun, load it with d ought and walk into the woods. I buried the stock in the dirt, asked God to please forgive me for what I'm about to do went straight on, and put the barrel ion my mouth, and pushed the trigger with my left thumb.
A few minutes later, I waken, and sight comes thru my eyes again. I'm lying flat on the ground, and I think, "I'm not in heaven, and I'm not in ****, oh no, I'm in the same place".
I notice blood all over, the gun laying perfectly parallel to me, on my right side? As if someone had been holding it, or guiding it, and laid it there, by me. I'm cold... I grab the shotgun, wrap it in the blanket, and walk back to my car, placing it in the trunk.
Every step, soaking the ground with blood. My pants are bloody, my boots full of blood, my car gets soaked, it's everywhere. I get to my house, no one is home. I leave a trail of blood with each step. I go upstairs to my bed room, I'm so tired. I lay down, but then get up. I walk into the bathroom, and see my face for the first time, and notice my injury. Half my face is gone, on the right side.
I hear someone enter the front door. I close and lock the bathroom door. I hear hurried steps, and someone shouts my name (Dad)... My son knocks on the door. "Dad are you alright, what's all this blood". Yes, I'm ok, just call your mom, she will know what to do. "Dad open the door, or I'll kick it down".
My son sees my face and runs to the phone, the ambulance and police come, and a helicopter flies me to Harborview. I'm there for 1-2 months, 3 or more surgeries. Lots of blood lost, as I had severed the carotid artery.
After the long hospital stay, I return home...
How is this possible, why am I alive? What does God think of me now? First, I live a life of backslidden, sin, and then try to kill myself! Is He, now mad at me, hate me, what does He think now?
Every day my family has to clean my wound, a hole 3-4 inches into my head, opens up, and needs daily care, until it gets fixed and heals completely. Then one day...
I'm all alone. They all go shopping, and also need a break, from the intensity of the situation. As I'm sitting at the table, I look outside, and see the rain drops falling to the ground. THEN... I hear His voice.
He says "Rod, why do you believe what you believe and who taught you". I say "Lord I don't know, maybe I just picked up things on the way, as time went by".
He says "Do you think TRUTH, goes from THE MIND of one man, and into the mind of another"? I said "No Lord. I believe TRUTH is REVEALED". He says "Do you remember the story of David, on his rooftop" "Yes, Lord I remember". "Do you remember what David wanted to do, and what I told him". "Yes Lord, he wanted to build you a house". "And I said NO". "But another would build my house". "He would have a son"
"NOW WATCH ME FULFILL THIS SPOKEN WORD/PROMISE".
One day David is on his rooftop, and he sees a woman, and says..."Get her for me"...
***No one but God could arrange these circumstances in order to fulfill this promise, her there at the right time, David seeing her, and liking her.
Then He says to me, "Do you have a problem with me using sin, to fulfill my will". I say "No Lord, for you created the law, you could make it vanish also, it is not possible for you to break it, for you are above it".
Rod "I don't want you to ever put your sin above my love and grace for you. Don't ever do it again"! "IT IS NOT YOUR JOB, TO CHANGE YOURSELF, that is MY JOB; I am the farmer, you are the vine, I am the shepherd, you are the sheep. WHEN I want to change something in your life, I will bring it to your attention, and you JUST AGREE WITH ME"... "You just rest."
***This was 12-15 years ago; I have been free ever since. I live the life of Hebrews CH4.
**** I hope this helps/blesses you. Just rest. Sin is dead to us, even if we commit sin, it is DEAD, and it has been paid for. IT has no power over us, it has no meaning for us.
Christ took it to the cross and killed it in the flesh, you NOW live in spirit, like changing cars. You went from a car, and now sit in a plane. The car (flesh and sin, which is in the flesh, can't fly, only a plane can fly).
You have been crucified in Christ, that is who you are now.
But you still live in a BODY that is tied to sin. You cannot LET it have influence over you. No one condones or wants to sin, but when and if you sin, COUNT IT AS DEAD, as if it didn't happen. JUST walk on...
It says Boo, and you just ignore it, it is dead...