How I became a Christian and why 39 years later I still believe
How I became a Christian and why 44 years later I still believe
This is part 1 of a 4 part story (testimony)
The older I get the more I realize that I do not want the important things that I have been through to be forgotten by me or my children. This is why I had written them down.
The scriptures teach that the word of our testimony is powerful. In the book of Revelation it even says that during the battle with the enemy of our souls he (the devil) is overcome by the blood of the lamb and word of our testimony. It is not a prerequisite for becoming a Christian to believe the Bible is the Word of God, in fact in my testimony you will see at times I doubted it intensely. Becoming a believer is simply trusting that God did in fact send his own son to this world for the purpose of saving the human soul...yours. He allowed Himself by choice to be tortured and murdered on our behalf to pay the price for sin and the for the world's rebellion. He proved that the Cross was enough by raising from dead, appearing to more than 500 people in the flesh over a period of 40 days following his public death. These are historical facts, not just faith filled.
I promise to you the reader that every word here is true to the best of my knowledge and remembrance. I can only pray that it resonates in your soul. Such miracles and God interventions are easy to discount by the unbeliever or skeptic. However I have come to believe that "healthy HONEST skepticism" is a good thing so I do not dismiss skeptics as "unbelievers" but rather they are people in a different place than I currently am.
I went through a radical life change at the age of 19. I woke up to a spiritual side of life I had before pretended did not exist. In part that pretending was so that I could continue to live selfishly and satisfy my own insatiable desires. My change was so radical that some of my family and friends became Christians shortly after I did in part because they watched me change so completely.
Though I will talk about some bad things in my childhood I do not blame my parents for anything, they did their best and instilled many good traits within me by their faithfulness to discipline and raise me with good character. The good values they instilled came out only later when the pressure of real life hit me. Thanks Mom and Dad. I love you.
Not everyone has good parents, but most of our parents did do the best they knew how, they did well sometimes, and not so well others. Most moms and many dads (including mine) spent years pouring into us the little they did know about life and desperately trying to keep us safe in an unsafe world. They didn't get a "how to" book when we were born and so mistakes were made. However when you come to grips with the fact that your parents did the best they could, and you should stop holding a childish grudges (forgive), you can be set free from a lot of anger. That anger can shorten your life and takes away the joy of living. Let go.
A Christian Background...Sort of.
My parents raised me in a nominally Christian home. My father sang in the choir and we attended a Presbyterian church every Sunday. I attended Sunday school as a child but I honestly only remember one of my Sunday school teachers. As I went through confirmation around the age of 7, I remember realizing the words and their meanings and praying to God sincerely. I believed I actually heard God's voice speak back to me as a still small whisper (or thoughts into my consciousness.) I assumed all Christians talked to God this way and they heard Him talk back.
I had many questions for my Sunday school teacher who was also my third grade public school teacher and she answered them all with patience. I don't remember anyone else in my young life that affected my faith nearly as much as she did. Had there been more of them, I may not have had to go through so many years of empty feelings and searching in vain to find meaning in life later as a teenager.
As I said at the age of 7 just after confirmation I had my first encounter with God. I was praying in the pew of that Presbyterian church, I was touched deeply by learning of God's love for me. My Sunday school teacher had patiently explained to me why Jesus had to suffer, die and be raised for mankind and why it was important for me personally. At that point I had an epiphany and came to understand that God loves us (ME) more than we can imagine and I was overcome with emotion. I did not realize that I was sitting there looking up at the ceiling and talking to Him...out loud. Another boy turned to me and laughed, pointing me out to other children. I was extremely embarrassed and I didn't talk to God like that very much ever again at least not in public. Caring what others think is a weakness I had for a long time when I was a child. It is something we all battle with and if decisions are made based on it they usually set us back.
My family's church attendance dwindled over the years and so did my interest in things to do with God. I was a contemplative child but with a stiff neck and a mind for trouble. My feelings were easily hurt, but I didn't share them with my family much. My Sunday school teacher and what she taught me soon became a distant memory. Brushes with religion in the Boy Scouts or visits to church became boring and meaningless. No one was able to answer my questions. No person in my life from the age of 7 to the age of 19 ever taught me again in a meaningful way about Christ. Some may have tried, but I don't remember them and for sure no one ever got through to me.
A Fairly Happy Home until...
At the age of 12, out of the blue (to us kids) my parents informed me they were splitting up. They didn't say they were divorcing (but they did shortly after) but I knew what was happening and I was more than devastated. I had never even considered the possibility (a theme which comes up later,) and it hit me like a truckload of bricks. I can still feel the heaviness as I write this down. I knew that marriage was forever, my parents never argued in front of us and I was ignorant that this was even possible. I cannot understate how this affected my heart, I became empty and angry. There is no good age for children to go through a divorce but a young boy or girl fast approaching puberity is possibly the worst time. Unfortunately my parents also parted geographically. I think if I had seen my father more often some of the effects of divorce may have been lessened if we had remained in the same area. Studies now show this to be true.
Trouble began that next summer. I began to be mischievous, commit theft, smoke cigarettes, drink (at age 13!) This wasn't hard to do, kids who think this way are easy to befriend and I found them. My parents divorced and moved a thousand miles apart. By the time I visited my dad again in the summers I was lost, angry and confused. He could not help me at this point. I had almost no inhibitions, I distrusted all adults. I would try almost anything because I was completely empty inside and felt no purpose. I only occasionally found deeper meaning in playing, writing or listening to music. The rock musicians I idolized gave indulgence legitimacy. My grades went from pretty good, to pretty bad and never really recovered all the way through high school.
The emptiness really hit hard when I tried to write a song. I did not believe that there was anything worth fighting for. When the military recruiters for the various branches of the service came to my school I mocked them. "The few, the proud, the dead" I would say to them. I could not imagine anything worth dying for. My soul was empty, I had no substance and I had no vision. My only goal was to be a famous musician, so I enrolled at my local State College to major in music. Finally I had a plan, I would study music, get gigs and maybe get together with the right bunch of guys and make really big money. That was it, my big dream.
Before I get to the most interesting part of my story, let me tell you about the first real conversion to Christianity I observed. My girlfriend's parents used to party with us (which I thought was totally cool.) To my amazement almost overnight they went from what I perceived as "cool parents" to "born-again" fanatics. They shed the partying and the escapism and went whole hog into praying, going to church and telling everyone about Jesus including my girlfriend (their daughter) and me. I had never seen anything remotely like it.
In order to keep going out with their daughter I decided to go to church with them. I had never been to a Pentecostal church and boy was it....... interesting. It was also quite weird to me (and in some ways still is for that matter.) At the end of the service they had an "alter call" pleading with the sinner to get saved. I felt as though every eye (especially my girlfriend) was on me so about the third time I went, the pressure was too great. I went forward and said "the sinner's prayer" to get "saved" for all the wrong reasons.
Part 2 of 4
Life Hits Me Like Truck, Again!
Several months later I had been working at what I thought was a pretty good job for an 18 year old kid. I was making a small salary and good tips at a local well established restaurant. My mother had kicked me out out of the house for using her home as a party center for all my friends and I was living with several other friends in an apartment. I took it in stride and felt it was cool to be on my own.
One day I was called into the office at work and promptly fired for stealing tips! I truly had not stolen anything, but a customer said I did and I had only been there two months so I was fired. I now had rent to pay so I hurriedly took the only job I could get...at a fast food restaurant. Because I had some personal pride about working, I was feeling embarrassed and depressed but I continued to see my girlfriend, sneak over to her house in the middle of the night climb through her window and do what teens should not be doing.
One sunny winter day during the lunch rush I received a call from my girlfriend's mom. I'll never forget her words. "My daughter is down at the hospital having your baby."
You may have heard or read of these kind of things happening to people but amazingly we actually had no idea she was even pregnant! No idea. Read that sentence again..we did not know she was pregnant until the day she had the baby. Of course there is also the fact that my girlfriend was 17 and I was 18, an age when ignorance is your most dominant trait.
NOTE: My girlfriend did have a couple of pregnancy symptoms that we asked the doctor about, but he firmly told us "the symptoms are normal when your on the pill." My girlfriend was having her period although somewhat irregular and did not look pregnant. She carried the baby high up under her ribs. In fact I saw her in a swimsuit a couple of days before the baby was born. She stated that she did feel like she was getting fat, so as a result she was basically starving herself.
I was facing at the biggest crossroads of my short 18 years. Once again I was smacked upside the head with the unexpected two by four. Never saw it comin...
So like a child, I took it out my frustration on someone I did not know for sure existed...Almighty God Himself. For the first time in a long time...I prayed, or better said, yelled at God. I was honest with Him about how I felt, angry, confused and alone and now a shocked and unwilling parent.
The restaurant let me leave and I began the trek on foot to the hospital several miles away. I walked and ran the whole way shouting at God saying; "If you're real then you make babies, you make life. And IF you're there then I need help. I started telling Him "This baby is going to be in bad shape God, Mom's fed it nothing good for it for its whole existence so first you're going to have to make it healthy if it's even alive."
Knowing that my girlfriend had been starving herself, and we were living a partying lifestyle I figured that the baby was going to be deformed, brain damaged or dead. I continued shouting; "If you are making me a father, then I need a better job, I shouted. I need to make at least $8.50 an hour" (this was 1982 and I was 18) "and I need medical, dental and life insurance and I need security for that baby so I can provide...IF you're even real," I continued to shout.
I finally arrived at the Hospital in shock and expecting the worst. I got to the intensive care maternity ward and saw my future in-laws standing there looking through the glass at my new daughter. I am told that my girlfriend denied being pregnant all the way up to the end. The nurse said to her, "well you may not be pregnant, but you're crowning!"
*The scary thing is that had my girlfriend and I known of her pregnancy we would have had an abortion. Both of us had no real moral compass, and believed what we had been taught in school and magazines that life is random chance, not divinely given. We believed that this was just a fetus and not a human being until it breathes oxygen. We bought the abortion argument hook, line and sinker. I truly believe now that God hid the pregnancy from us for that reason. (that girl now graduated college and attending law school)
Our Beautiful Daughter is Born
That day I stepped up the window and peered through at the tiny orange child in an incubator and I emotionally broke. The day our daughter was born (2 months premature) she weighed only 4 pounds. I cannot even explain how I felt, but instead of the panic I had been feeling on the way to the hospital, a peace and warmth suddenly came over me. I wept like a baby and my heart changed that day. I suddenly knew that without a doubt that this was not an accident and that God had a plan. The prayer I had prayed in that Pentecostal church a couple months before suddenly became very real to me. My prayer as a 7 year old child also came back to my mind. I hugged her parents and silently I gave my heart to God and began to trust He knew what He was doing.
....There was however another big problem...Sarah was gravely ill.
Our little girl had quite a few health problems. The right side of her brain was enlarged and one of her lungs was filled with fluid. She was on oxygen and had several other major issues the doctors were concerned about. The doctors took one look at her and shook their heads when she came out. They told us she would be in intensive care for at least 6 months if she survived.
She was quite jaundice (yellowing of skin caused by undeveloped liver, liver disease, and/or bile disorder). As a result of this underdeveloped liver she was bright orange in color and in an incubator. Her eyes were covered with bandages to protect her from the lights.
In a burst of boldness my girlfriend's parents (new believers) prayed for God to heal Sarah. I was surprised and thought they went a bit overboard, laying their hands on Sarah and saying their prayers out loud for all to hear, but I silently prayed too as I watched.
Nine short days later Sarah went home a perfectly healthy, though very tiny little girl. No residual health problems whatsoever. Over the years she became a nearly the perfect child, lots of drive, loving, incredibly inquisitive and intelligent, always got good grades, even through high school and college. She even had the unusual trait to observe others stupid mistakes and chose not to make the same ones...that kind of foresight is priceless and has great reward. Me personally always had to learn things the hard way.
My girlfriend and her parents doted over Sarah for the next few months. Then about four months later we were married. Not too long after that we had our own apartment on the West side of Denver. It was tough, we were poor, but I remember lots of good times and memories being a new very young family.
God Answers Honest Prayers Shouted In Anger
Six days after Sarah was born I received a phone call from a church I had applied for a job at about six months earlier. They had turned me down. The lady on the phone said they'd like to offer me a job and that this was an unusual situation. She said they were in a meeting and God spoke to more than one of them about giving me a second chance. I thought that was a little strange, but took the job and was shocked to find out that the job (just a janitor's job at a church) was exactly what I had prayed for. It paid $8.50 per hour, had life, dental and health insurance! Wow what a week!
I ended up working there for two years, eventually becoming an audio technician producing and developing radio programs that were heard world wide. I also ended up going to Bible College there. I was hungry to learn more about God. I was also completely ignorant of what the Bible teaches, which made me quite vulnerable to believe almost anything as long as the teacher had his Bible open and was endorsed by my Pentecostal church.
End of part 2 of 4
Part 3 of 4
Isaiah 1:18 says "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
Hungrier than a bear just come out of hibernation....
The realization that God loved me and that Jesus was real took hold of me like a hook in a fish. I began to for the first time in my life really enjoy reading and studying. I attended Bible College at the Assembly of God church, attended services two or three times a week and worked at the church. I was immersed in God stuff and I loved it. Believe it or not I also consumed science books. I was told by my high school biology teacher that evolution of all types was a proven fact. It had a great deal to do with me completely abandoning all belief in God, so I now needed to reconcile it. Now wanted to learn all I could about how the theory of evolution and the teachings of creation of man by God interacted, how and why they seemed at odds with each other. God had proven his reality to me and I wanted to learn more.
I was very surprised to learn that much of what I was taught in school had been proven to be conjecture, or incorrect, decades before I was even taught it. Piltdown man is one example among many. Some of the "proofs" I was tested on in high school were in fact long abandoned as false were still in textbooks during the 70's and 80's. I also learned that new theories about evolution were constantly emerging, Some of them based on a lack of evidence, not new discoveries. Yes I admit this is not the dominant view and there were some discoveries, but many of the changes to the theories were because there was either not enough evidence for the theory or contrary evidence. Much of the debunking and changing of theories was done not by preachers with an axe to grind but by evolutionary scientists trying to find answers. Later in college my Biology professor who was also a research scientist at an Ivy league University told me she was a believer in a creator or Intelligent Design. I am not going to try to convince you here, nor pretend I can but at this point in my life I needed answers and I found many highly qualified people who provided at least some of them.
Destructive Doctrine Phase
In Matthew 13 Jesus gave a great parable about God's word and how it affects people. If you are not familiar with it, go to Biblegateway.com and look it up.
The key phrase for me was "When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart."
In my case this was incredibly and somewhat intensely true. I received God's word with gladness and immediately the enemy came to snatch it away and to mix it with false ideas, and natural selfish tendencies. I ignorantly became open to lies from twisted and anti-intellectual preachers. Because I had not ever really been to church as an adult I did not have anything to measure what I was hearing against, no way to tell if what I was hearing was true.
The school and church I attended were steeped in what is known as the "Word Faith" movement. I won't go into all of their doctrines here, but suffice it to say that there was enough truth to make it seem plausible to me, and my new found faith. What the movement did for me and millions of other gullible believers was take the focus off of serving others and place it on self.
I was taught that God wanted me healthy, wealthy and living long, anything else was not His will and if I or any of my family were suffering it was because my faith was weak. I was taught to concentrate on the "god power" behind my words and not on petition to Almighty God Himself.
Gone were the teachings about self-sacrifice, God's saint's suffering or being killed for the faith. The parts of the Bible that taught about learning to die to ones own desires and serve others were never focused on. Absent also were teaching's about how to love and serve my wife. They were replaced with the teachings about how to acquire wealth and maintain perfect health. It consumed me. After just two years of this horrible school I became a preacher and teacher of this false and destructive doctrine. I had also become an associate pastor of a church in my hometown.
It didn't take but a couple years of this and my wife (who needed a giving husband) had enough of me. She told me she no longer loved me and wanted to separate. I still remember the day she looked at me in the eye and said "I will not be married to a preacher." and though it broke my heart and shattered the dream, I now do not blame her. I was a selfish know-it-all who had no idea how to serve his family. I had come to God for the right reasons but had been fed a pack of lies. I swallowed them all, then I taught and counseled others to believe them too (even worse.)
I am purposefully going to leave out some details here for the sake of covering sin rather than exposing someone , but suffice it to say after 5 years of marriage and two lovely daughters (one a miracle,) my wife left me and I became the weekend dad. Even though she warned me many times, I still never saw it coming, I was blind and because I knew that I would never leave, I assumed she really felt the same. That semi truck ran over me again, but this time it was more like a freight train. For two years I attempted to reconcile and re-unite with my wife, but she had made up her mind. She had moved on to someone else and I was alone.
Suddenly there were no kids to tuck in at night, no wife to hold and a crushing pain that I still occasionally have nightmares about. Once I finally stopped denying the fact that we were really through (took more than a year and she had already remarried), I then had to accept the fact that my daughters would see me only 4 days a month. This too was incredibly painful. It took nearly two years to regain some composure. I was borderline breakdown material during waking hours, unless I was with my girls.
Thankfully at first my ex was happy to let me spend extra time with my girls. I got to spend more time with them than just what the court said. I got to build a strong bond with my girls, it helped us me and them a great deal. I am still grateful for that time with them. We took a trip to Disneyland we drove everywhere together, and they were so inquisitive about life.
The rest of my personal life however was completely destroyed. I do not blame her for it, even though I begged her to stay and work it out. I was an arrogant, egotistical, know-it-all who had no idea how to love his wife. It's no wonder she didn't like me anymore. During that time I lost my business, my home was foreclosed on and, my job as an associate pastor went away. I was only 23, but I felt as though my life was over.
Deep depression enveloped me and I was beyond confused. I KNEW that I had exercised great faith (no doubt whatsoever) in God that He would provide for us a happy, healthy, wealthy home, but none of that happened. I lost my wife, my home, my ministry, my children and my business. I was fortunate that during that time I had finally landed a decent job. I was a delivery driver at a local soft drink bottling company. I didn't have the time to think much, there was too much work to do and that was good. I had to be at work at 5:00 am, in uniform, shoes shined, clean shaven, short hair. Many days the very physical job went on till 8:00 or 9:00 in the evening. On my days off, I saw my girls so I was slowly getting a little healthier.
If you are still with me, I commend you, its like watching my home movies.
Stay tuned for part 4 of 4
How I became a Christian and why 39 years later I still am - part 4 of 4
Shouting at God... Again
One of the themes in my story is honesty with God. I am only human of course and hide my sins too but my experience is that honesty is a key to working with God. I learned (the hard way) that God expects honesty, resists dishonesty and hypocrisy. If you are angry with God, He knows it, so don't pretend you are not.
This where I found myself again, once I had realized I had lost everything, I left the church and my faith. I let God know in no uncertain terms I said "I know Jesus and the Holy Spirit are real you proved that to me," (I had felt and experienced the emptiness of my youth leave and seen my daughter healed) "but I don't know if the Bible is truth. Until you show me what I did wrong, I will not serve you.
I thought I believed the Bible's words with all my heart but I lost everything. In my eyes I was not blessed. So I decided to carry on as though I was not a Christian. This honest prayer God eventually was answered in a way I could never imagine. A friend recently challenged me on this and said, why did you yell at God when it was all your fault? I honestly did not know that what I was doing was wrong, I thought I was serving God, so these were honest questions I had for the great architect of all things. I thought I was following His truth as told to me by false teachers.
I now have a completely different view of what is God's blessing than I did back then. God's blessing can be material things but it rarely is, God's most genuine blessing is usually a realization of truth. Truth that brings you closer to Him. I have seen people go to their graves believing this selfish doctrine of health and wealth but I was delivered out of it in a few short years, that is a blessing.
After attempting to walk the walk of an unbeliever again, partying, sleeping around, and just living for the moment (which I did not actually enjoy*,) I had of course another unexpected freight train experience. However this time it was not with sudden circumstances, but a deeply moving experience with a Holy God. A God I found out I did not know very well at all.
Leading up to this earth-shattering experience I had begun to be more open to God again, ever so cautiously. I began to watch Dr. D. James Kennedy on TV (he felt safer because he wore a robe and wasn't a Pentecostal.) I began to take my children to a local church where my brother went, though I would barely attend myself.
Just prior to this God experience I also started listening to the late Walter Martin. Dr. Martin. He was the first person I had ever heard speak out against what he called the "Word-Faith" movement. He named the preachers that I had followed and called them false teachers and false prophets! I was shocked by his in-your-face teaching but could not stop listening.
I was still so brainwashed even at this point in my life, I thought that God was going to kill Walter Martin for speaking out against "God's Anointed!" However, the things he said I could not refute. His knowledge of scripture was something amazing to me. Every faith preacher I had heard before seemed now to me like they were pretending compared to Dr. Martin. All the "Word-Faith" preachers I had heard mocked seminary and religion and only lifted up their brand of selfish, anti-intellectual, rebellious brand of Christianity. They said people like Dr. Martin were not true believers but preachers of doubt, listening to Dr. Martin I could sense that was not true, he trusted in Christ fully and in His Word completely. He was truly the Bible Answer Man.
An Experience of Biblical Proportions
Easter Sunday, of that year I woke suddenly from a sound sleep at about 2:00 am. As I stared at the ceiling I was overwhelmed with the feeling I was not alone. At once I recognized it as the presence of God though this was to an intense degree I had never experienced. A fear came over me and I slid off my bed and lay face down on the floor shaking.
I heard the voice I had known as a child speak to my heart. "Do not be afraid. I love you, I am your Father and I have called you." For the next two hours or more I just listened as God revealed truth to me. I know this sounds really strange and perhaps crazy but it is what happened to me. Damage that I thought would take years of counseling to heal from my divorce was pretty much gone in one morning.
It was not a big booming voice, it was more like and instant realization that the way I had been thinking about God and myself was all wrong. This was more than just a voice, it was too supernatural for that. I was not off the hook so to speak for my own behavior either. It was as though a loving father was giving me a spanking and straightening me out. I saw all my selfishness and pride and I was sickened by it.
He also cause me to see myself through my ex-wife's eyes and I was thoroughly disgusted. I saw how I had twisted God's word into a self-centered abomination and I understood what I had done wrong, NOTE: I had prayed earlier and asked God to show me what I had done wrong. This was a supernatural answer to that prayer. He reaffirmed in me that He had called me and set me apart for Him even as a child.
I'd like to tell you that life was rosy from this point on but it was not, however this was the biggest turning point in my life in my relationship with God and still is.
Theological note: Up until this point I also thought I could lose my salvation. However following this experience I changed my mind. I came to fully believe and understand Philippians 1:6 when it says; "being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." A great relief came over me. I now knew that it wasn't up to me. He reached out and saved me and it is He that would cause me to overcome. He would follow me, even into sin because in His eyes I was clean through the blood of His Son, though He sure convicted me of my sin and I repented more completely than I had ever known possible.
Sin in the believer grieves Him, sears our conscience and it makes us ineffective. God needs us to be effective witnesses for Him, to join Him in His plans for the earth. When we sin we get distracted, feel guilty and hold back. We miss opportunities all around us.
That morning believe it or not was Easter Sunday. During church I sobbed like a baby. After church I ran to the prayer room. My younger brother was there and I tried to explain to him what was happening but too much had happened to fully explain it. I cried for joy as God's presence was once again my life. My hope and my purpose was revived but this time in grace and truth.
Since that strange miraculous day, I have never doubted, I have followed Him as best I could in ways I would not have imagined, through trials I am glad I did not see beforehand and through Joys I never thought I would have again. I will never again doubt that He loves me, that He would never leave me nor will I doubt that His Word is true.
I began to read the Bible again through new clean eyes. It took a good 3 years or so before all the false doctrine was completely washed from my thinking. It had so much became a part of me that it took intense study, prayer and devotion to re-format my brain in the area of Biblical truth.
Not everyone will have that kind of experience. That is why it is called a miracle. But anyone can know deep in their soul, even feel and experience the Love of God through Christ. All it takes is an open, honest seeking heart. Pick up a Bible, turn to the book of John or Luke, then stop... and ask God to show you if it's true, to show you Himself in the words and if you are honestly asking He will. I guarantee it. He may even grant you a miracle to prove to you He is who He said He was, he often does for new seekers;
The concept of who Jesus is can seem like foolishness to those who think they know it all already but He has proven to me and billions of others that He is God incarnate, born into this world a man, lived sinless, but murdered for our sins, then raised from the dead for our life eternal.
I have a friend who was into New Age religion during the 70's and 80's. When he began to look into this Jesus character he noticed that all other religions (and secular religionists) feel they MUST answer the question "who is Jesus" then redefine Him. Since they all seemed to "have to ask that question, then answer it in some convoluted way it caused him to look honestly at Christ and read the Bible with an open mind. He was converted shortly after he began to search in Jesus direction. Even the Koran mentions Jesus, his virgin birth and his ascension. In fact it uses Jesus name more than it uses Allah.
The story continues..
I remained single for about three years. For a while I hunted for a new Christian wife. However once the Lord had completely healed my hurts and taken away false doctrine my loneliness began to disappear. I finally became OK with whatever He wanted! If He wanted me to be single I trusted that He would help me get through it. However this was not quick, or painless. It took about three years, many tears and even some suicidal thoughts prior to my visitation experience. But once I truly had peace that He would take care of me no matter what, I began to move forward in this part of my life.
I prayed to Him "Lord if you want me to be single for the rest of my life, I can do that for you because I want your will in my life." But I was honest too, I told Him I wanted to get married, to find a wife, to enjoy a family again. Again this was not an overnight miracle, it was a painful process to get to this point but the key word is trust. I finally let go and trusted Him in this area.
Not too long after I had this new found peace I was having lunch at a friends and his wife asked me if I wanted to get married again. I told her I wanted God's will basically stating what I said in the paragraph above.. She said, "funny thing, I asked a girl at church yesterday the same thing and she answered almost exactly word for word what you did, do you want her phone number?"
I called her and we started dating a couple weeks later and within a few short months we were engaged. That was more than 23 years ago now. When we got married she had two children from a previous abusive marriage and I had my two girls. A year later we had a son, then adopted a foster child several years after that.
So much has happened since that "visitation" of the Holy Spirit on that Easter Sunday morning I could write a book. I believe more in God's truth every day and I see Him working in people all around me. If you want that too, all you have to do is be open, honest and search in Jesus direction.
19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,
21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
*NOTE: One of the things God's Spirit does besides reveal truth is take away the pleasure of sin when He is leading you to Him. When I fell away from God I lived like one who does not believe in God but it was not very pleasurable for me, it was empty. Sin is only pleasurable for a short time for anyone, but for believers it is less than that and it sears your conscience. If you need renewal, just ask Him.